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Paulo Coelho biopic details emerge

Film about the Brazilian writer behind The Alchemist to wrap in Spain this week.

The Pilgrim: The Best Story of Paulo Coelho is to finish shooting in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela this week, after filming began in Rio de Janeiro on April 3.

The film is an 80-20 co-production between Brazil’s Dama Filmes, led by Carolina Kotscho and Iôna de Macedo, and Angélica Huete’s Babel Films in Spain.

Directed by Daniel Augusto, the script was informed by conversations between Coelho and producer-scriptwriter Carolina Kotscho.

Ravel and Júlio Andrade will play the young and old Coelho. Other cast members include Fabiana Gugli, Nancho Novo and Paz Vega.

De Macedo told Screen: “The film tells the story of a man who has a dream. It’s a little like Alice in Wonderland - he’s someone who is too big for his house.

“His parents wanted him to be an engineer but he ended up being tortured by the military and experienced electroshock treatment.”

Born in Rio in 1947, Coelho harboured ambitions of being a writer from an early age, but was committed by his parents to a mental institution. He later enrolled in law school but dropped out to travel the world. On his return to Brazil, he worked as a songwriter but was arrested in 1974 by the ruling military government.

In 1986, Coelho walked the 500 mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in Spain and experienced “a spiritual awakening”, which he described autobiographically in The Pilgrimage, turning his back on songwriting to pursue writing.  His 1988 novel The Alchemist has sold more than 30 million copies and been translated into 56 languages.

This week, crew are shooting crew are in Galicia, where Coelho walked the Way of St. James.

Those working on the film include Pedro Almodovar’s regular art director Antxón Gómez and Oscar-winning make-up artists Montse Ribé and David Marti.

The film, shot in Portuguese, is scheduled to open in the first half of 2014.

Macedo added that major territories have expressed interest in distribution but deals have yet to be struck.

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