For a while it seemed very likely that Moneyball, the story of how the 2002 Oakland A’s defeated their opponents with statistics, would never reach theaters. Yet, the project is slowly but surely coming together. Although original director Steven Soderbergh dropped out of the project, Brad Pitt remains attached to star, Aaron Sorkin was brought in to touch up Seven Zaillian’s script, and Bennett Miller (an Oscar nominee for directing Capote) was hired to replace Soderbergh. All sure signs that Sony intends to make something of the material.
Now The Playlist has an update that represents one step backward, to be sure, but two steps forward as well: Jonah Hill is now attached to co-star in the role previously earmarked for Demetri Martin. More on what this implies after the jump.
On the one hand, I rather like Jonah Hill, and am happy to see him star alongside Brad Pitt in a project with this much potential. Hill is set to play Paul DePodesta, the Harvard graduate who revitalized the A’s strategy with his mathematical approach. Considering the heft of the role, I figure Hill will spend at least as much time on screen as Pitt and serve as an entry point for the audience into the boys’ club that is professional baseball. Hill is more than capable of such a task, with breezy charm and neurotic affability to spare, and probably a more lucrative name to put on the marquee.
On the other hand, I adore Demetri Martin and his many talents; I would love to see his career take off in a major way beyond the confines of his Comedy Central show, Important Things With Demetri Martin. His turn in Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock last summer was a bit of a false start, so I kept my fingers crossed that Moneyball could serve as Martin’s path to starring roles. All hope is not lost, though, as his screenplay for Will has attracted Paul Rudd and man-of-the-hour Zach Galifianakis to star. The concept, which revolves around heavenly scribes who script the lives of every individual, sounds painfully clever, and I can’t wait to hear more as production progresses.
At this point, both Moneyball and Will sound like they have all the right ingredients to become great films, so I’ll count my blessings.