A Will Smith Movie Just Ran Out Of Money While Filming

A movie backed by Will Smith has run out of money and the production needed to be shut down for the time being. Its future is uncertain

By Tristan Zelden | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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Filmmaking is difficult as things can spiral out of control. That is what happened during the production of a movie that is produced by Will Smith, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, The Alchemist, which is an adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s classic book, has taken a while for things to get moving on the project, but recently it started to get the backing it needed. At the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios will team up with Netter Films and PalmStar Media, which acquired the rights to the novel five years ago and would finance the film. That is where the issues lie, as sources told the entertainment publication that the financing “hit undisclosed obstacles.” Due to that, the crew was sent home as production was shut down.

A spokesman for the film went into some detail about how it isn’t as disastrous as it seems. It was a rights-transfer problem, but it should be resolved for the adaption that is backed by Will and Jada Smith. It’s likely things will kick back up in the coming weeks as things get sorted out within the next few days.

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“There was a gap in an ordinary-course execution of the production rights transfer, and as a result, production entered a temporary shutdown,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We expect to be back up and running with our incredible cast and crew as soon as the rights transfer concludes, and we can get everyone back on set.”

PalmStar, Netter Films, and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios had no comment on the production hurdle.

Will Smith might be a big name attached, but the people who will make the biggest impact are a mix of recognizable names and others experienced in different areas of the industry. Kevin Scott Frakes will be writing and making this his directorial debut. He is best known for producing John Wick and Ari Aster’s debut, Hereditary. Marking his first time writing a feature-length film will be Ryan Kreston, who co-produced Hereditary with Frakes. The cast will consist of Tom Hollander (American Dad), Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse), Sebastian De Souza (Skins), Jordi Mollà (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), and Ashraf Barhom (Clash of the Titans).

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Zakaria Alaoui, Jon Mone, Gil Netter, and Raj Brinder Singh will produce with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. In addition, the director Kevin Scott Frakes and co-writer Ryan Kreston will produce too.

Getting an adaption out of the classic novel has been turbulent. Before Will Smith, other big names were attached to the project. Warner Bros. bought the rights in the 90s, but then Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), who was a fan, got the rights to direct the film. In 2008, The Weinstein Co. partnered with the actor. Idris Elba (Luther) came on board to star, then soon after, things fell apart. In 2016, PalmStar got the rights, and by this year, it was learned that Fishburne would no longer direct.

The future for The Alchemist is uncertain. According to the spokesperson, it will go back into production soon. That scheduling will land it to release somewhere next year, depending on any other obstacles that pop up. However, with its rocky history, all the cast and crew can do is cross their fingers that it is smooth sailing once they get out of this latest storm.