The Matrix star Laurence Fishburne is set to bring best-selling book THE ALCHEMIST to the big screen - directing and starring in a new Hollywood adaptation.
Fishburne has teamed up with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to get the $60 million (GBP30 million) project into production.
The tome, by Paul Coehlo, which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 67 languages, focuses on the story of a shepherd boy who travels across the Egyptian desert in search of treasure, but meets an alchemist who teaches him the meaning of life.
And Weinstein believes the movie's themes could help heal rifts between the Western world and the Middle East.
Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, he says, "It is a book I have been truly inspired by and I have agreed to personally produce it. The Alchemist is simple and spiritual, and the screenplay will reflect that. The book means so much to people on a spiritual level yet there is also a great love story in it. It is an incredibly moving, emotional story.
"I think this story will act as a bridge to the Middle East. In the Middle East, the book has been an overwhelming success. That is a world that we need to know more about an extend a bridge to. This movie could be a healer in that region, bringing the West and the East together, especially the Middle East."
Fishburne is set to play the alchemist of the title, and Weinstein is keen to cast Penelope Cruz in his latest project: "One way or another I'm finding a part for Penelope Cruz."