The Talisman: According to Variety, one month after director Ed Zwick replaced Vadim Perelman on DreamWorks' mystical pic, he, too, is ankling the project, the studio confirmed.

Trouble was, the film wasn't creatively together in time for the start date -- shooting was originally slated to start in July, then September, then October.

The hiccup comes as DreamWorks is trying is build up its 2005 live-action film slate. "Talisman" was intended to be released next year.

Script, in particular, was a sticking point. Adapted by Ehren Kruger from Stephen King and Peter Straub's novel, the screenplay was reworked by Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, but rewriting continues.

The pic is a passion project for Steven Spielberg, who secured rights to the book -- about a young man's journey to find a talisman that will save his mother's life -- in the 1980s for his Amblin banner. The director originally envisioned the book as a miniseries.

DreamWorks production prexy Adam Goodman said the studio will pursue "Talisman," but on a looser timeline.

"The important thing is that it gets made the right way," he said.

In the meantime, the October shoot date has been canceled, with no other start date on the books.

Brian B.