Finally, it's really happening this time:
- Columbia Pictures and director Steven Soderbergh have set Demetri Martin to star alongside Brad Pitt in "Moneyball," the adaptation of the Michael Lewis book about ballplayer-turned-Oakland Athletics g.m. Billy Beane and his attempt to field a competitive team on a slim payroll.
Also joining the roster is a group of actual baseball players: former Oakland A's team members David Justice and Scott Hatteberg have signed on to play themselves in the picture, while Daryl Strawberry and Lenny Dykstra are among those who will be seen on camera being interviewed about their experiences with Beane when he was a phenom drafted by the New York Mets before flaming out and becoming a baseball scout. Shooting begins in June.
Martin will play Paul De Podesta, a Harvard grad who turned down Wall Street jobs to use his statistical skills to change baseball scouting tactics. His system, known as "Earned Run Value," allowed Beane to evaluate valuable players he could hire at low cost.
Beane was a bright student himself who passed up a chance to attend Stanford and instead took the money to turn pro as a ballplayer. He always regretted a money-motivated decision and found a new purpose in putting together championship-caliber teams without a lot of money. Pitt plays Beane.
Steve Zaillian is doing a polish on a script originated by Stan Chervin, and Rachael Horovitz, Michael De Luca and Greg Jacobs are producing.
No, Brad Pitt doesn't look anything like Billy Beane, nor does Demetri Martin look anything like Paul DePodesta. But it's a movie, you know? And say what you like about Pitt and Martin, but neither of them is exactly short in the talent department. Neither is Steven Soderbergh, who may not hit every time out but is practically incapable of making an uninteresting movie. Zaillian's been nominated for three Oscars (and won one). It's hard for me to imagine how you make a real movie out of Moneyball ... but I'm sure looking forward to seeing them try.