Idris Elba set for Laurence Fishburne's film of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist

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After a string of bigger-budget genre fare, Idris Elba appears to be making a move back to more substantial roles.

This week has seen him pick up positive reviews for his role in mysterious family drama Second Coming and he’ll next be seen in Cary Fukanaga’s Netflix-released drama Beasts of No Nation.

He may also be hoping to make another bid for Oscar success after Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom didn’t pan out, with Deadline reporting that he’s set for a lead role in The Alchemist, based on the Paulo Coelho bestseller.

Laurence Fishburne is rumoured to be directing the film, which is being assembled by Harvey Weinstein, with the hope that cameras start rolling next year. Fishburne has only directed one film so far, the 2000 crime drama Once in the Life.

The big-screen take on Coelho’s novel has been in development hell since 1994 when the author originally sold the rights to Warner Bros for $250,000. The project languished before Fishburne picked up the rights at a later date. Deadline claims one of the biggest problems has revolved around how much action should be included in the film, which has affected budget projections.

Watch a video review of Elba’s new film, Second Coming

The Alchemist was first published in 1988 and has gone on to sell over 65m copies worldwide. It’s the tale of a shepherd boy who dreams of travelling to find an extravagant treasure.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Benjamin Lee, for theguardian.com on Friday 5th June 2015 13.42 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010