Brad Pitt is Still Hitting Sony’s MONEYBALL – Aaron Sorkin to Re-draft Original Script

     July 9, 2009


The saga of “Moneyball” continued today as Sony announced that Brad Pitt is still attached to star in the big screen adaptation of Michael Lewis’ baseball book.  After unceremoniously pulling the plug on the Steven Soderbergh helmed project just days before filming was set to begin, Sony has not only kept the film in development but has now enlisted the great Aaron Sorkin to redraft Steve Zaillian’s original script.  More after the jump…

Three weeks ago we told you that Sony had pulled the plug on their big screen adaptation of the baseball stat book “Moneyball”.  The news was a bit of a shock as production was set to begin on the Steven Soderbergh helmed movie in only three days… with Brad Pitt in the starring role.  Sony execs claimed that Soderbergh’s updated draft of the script had given the project a completely different vibe – one that they didn’t feel like shelling out $60 million to develop.  Soderbergh was given one week to try to get another studio to take a swing at “Moneyball” but all passed, and as of June 30th the film was back at Sony – sans Soderbergh and, assumedly, sans Brad Pitt.

But not so fast.  After the New York Times reported that Soderbergh was officially off “Moneyball” Brad Pitt’s continued commitment to the film came into question.  The actor has a relationship with Soderbergh going back to “Ocean’s Eleven”, after all.

Pitt’s reps had said that he had “an eye out for his next picture,” which certainly made it seem like a return to “Moneyball” was off the table.  But according to Variety Brad Pitt will be playing Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manger at the heart of Lewis’ 2003 book.

And as for the script which caused all this trouble in the first place: Soderbergh’s exit left room for Sony to go back to the version they gave the greenlight to in the first place – the one by Steve Zaillian of “Schindler’s List” fame.  Studio exec Amy Pascal told the LA Times that there were “lots of ways to tell a true story.”  Meaning Soderbergh’s way – which included filming the real-life players in the book – was the wrong way.  Funny, because I’d take Soderbergh’s instincts over Sony’s any day.  Didn’t they just release “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” and “Year One”?  I wonder how that’s going for them…

Sony did have the sense, at least, to retain Aaron Sorkin as script doctor to Zaillian’s script.  For those of you who missed out on Sorkin’s brilliant “Sports Night” let me just say that the move was a very smart one at this stage.  Of course even Sorkin may have trouble reviving what has become a horribly tainted project but at least it’s gotten me to care about this “Moneyball” thing again… sort of.

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