Steven Spielberg's long-awaited TV adaptation of Stephen King's The Talisman is seemingly stuck in a dead zone.
The Oscar-winning director and TNT have postponed plans to turn the 1984 fantasy epic, which King cowrote with Peter Straub, into a six-hour miniseries airing next summer, the cable network confirmed Thursday.
"Production is on hold, but the project remains in development," a TNT rep told E! Online, declining to go into details.
After successfully collaborating on the highly rated, Emmy-winning 2005 western miniseries Into the West, TNT and DreamWorks Television announced in December plans to shoot The Talisman, with Spielberg reprising his supervisory role as executive producer.
The novel follows the surreal quest of Jack Sawyer, a 12-year-old boy who journeys from this world into a parallel one known as the Territories to retrieve a mysterious relic with magical properties that can save his dying mother.
DreamWorks did not comment on the delay Thursday. However, an insider with the company told the Hollywood Reporter that the decision was made primarily because of spiraling costs due to complex special effects. Producers realized they couldn't bring the ambitious project, based on a teleplay by Ehren Kruger (The Ring), in on its approved budget.
Spielberg has long been obsessed with The Talisman, having tried to set it up several times since he and longtime producer Kathleen Kennedy acquired the screen rights in 1984.
One of the first attempts came in the early '90s in the form of a feature film with a script by Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King, The Bridges of Madison County).
When that failed to gain any traction, Spielberg and Kennedy sought to develop The Talisman as a four-hour miniseries with ABC. But the project was derailed after the Alphabet net got cold feet over a skyrocketing budget.
Then Universal and DreamWorks revived The Talisman as a feature, bringing in several notable Hollywood scribes to take a stab at it. At one point, writer-director Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai) was even attached.
The latest incarnation of Talisman came about after Spielberg pitched the project to TNT honcho Michael Wright, who greenlighted the endeavor based on the success of Into the West.
Meanwhile, Spielberg is wrapping up production on another long-awaited passion project—the newly christened Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is due in theaters May 22, 2008.