According to Variety, New Line and Marvel Studios announced last November that they had signed Nick Cassavetes to direct "Iron Man," but it turns out there was never a done deal.

Helmer, who previously directed New Line's The Notebook and is in post on "Alpha Dog" for the studio, is in fact still not on board and has not held talks to direct the film for several months.

He is, however, working on a rewrite of the script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and David Hayter.

Cassavetes is still in the running to direct, however, and New Line remains committed to making the film. But with no director on board and casting yet to begin, mini-major has delayed the pic's planned release from 2006 to 2007.

New Line has kept quiet about the project since the erroneous announcement, but Marvel revealed during its earnings call Thursday that the film has been pushed back and blamed the studio's problems signing the director.

"We want Nick to make the movie. We had him," Marvel Studios topper Avi Arad told Daily Variety. "He's an 'Iron Man' aficionado. Everything was fine and then negotiations got delayed. We lost a year."