Stephen King’s ‘Talisman’ TV Series Hits Snag

Steven Spielberg’s latest attempt to bring The Talisman to the screen has hit a snag. TNT’s six-hour adaptation of the Stephen King-Peter Straub novel, executive produced by Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, has been put on hold because of budgetary issues, sources told the Hollywood Reporter. Read on for the details.

The limited series, from DreamWorks TV, was announced by TNT with big fanfare in December and slated for a summer 2008 premiere.

After all scripts were recently completed, it became clear that their execution would require a larger budget than previously allocated, sources said.

The fantasy-horror project, about a boy’s quest through this world and a parallel world known as the Territories to find a talisman that will save his mother, is said to involve elaborate special effects. TNT and DreamWorks are now addressing the financial issues and looking for ways to make the series, sources said.

“Talisman” has been a passion project for Spielberg and Kennedy, who have developed it since optioning the book about 25 years ago though Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Originally, “Talisman” was envisioned as a feature, with Richard LaGravenese writing a draft in the early 1990s.

In 2000, the project was set up at ABC as a four-hour miniseries executive produced by Spielberg and Kennedy. Mick Garris was brought in to write and direct the mini, but after he delivered the script to the network, ABC opted not to proceed with the project because of what was reported at the time as budget issues.

“I got a call from Kathleen Kennedy saying the network said they can’t afford it,” Garris told IGN FilmForce in a 2003 interview.

“Talisman” was resurrected as a feature again at Universal Pictures and DreamWorks. After a series of writers, including Ehren Kruger, Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro; directors, including Vadim Perelman and Ed Zwick; and production start dates, including July and then September 2004, the project was put on the back burner until Spielberg mentioned it to TNT’s Michael Wright in summer 2005 after TNT and DreamWorks TV’s collaboration on the 12-hour mini “Into the West.”

Source: Hollywood Reporter