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Another Day, Another Post Where We're Forced to Feature This Man's Photo

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 9, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 9, 2010 |

Well, at least we went with the young version of Hill in this photo. Pre-beard.

Anyway, I’m going to do my damnedest here to pique your interest, but for most of y’all, a baseball movie — nay — a baseball statistics movie is probably the last thing you could possibly care about. But hey! It’s a somewhat original idea; it’s got great talent behind it; and at least the production aspect of the movie has been interesting. It just got a little more interesting, in fact, and probably to its detriment.

So, here’s the story: A movie based on Michael Lewis’ Moneyball has been in the works for quite some time. Brad Pitt has been attached all along to play the central figure in the non-fiction book: Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics manager who used a sabermetric approach to building a super competitive baseball team despite a meager payroll. Basically, he figured that on-base percentage and slugging percentage were the most important factors in a player’s offensive success. And it worked. And it revolutionized baseball. And then everyone else figured it out, and now the Yankees own everyone with a good on base percentage and slugging percentage. Feh.

Anyway, i know it doesn’t sound like a particularly compelling premise, but Michael Lewis also wrote The Blind Side, and on paper, that sounded like a terrible movie, too (it turned out, it wasn’t that great, but not for the reasons you’d have thought, given that The Blind Side was essentially about the importance of the left tackle position to modern football).

Yeah. I know. Your eyes are glazing over.

So, the deal is this: Steven Soderbergh was, at one time, supposed to direct Moneyball, but as we reported when it happened, that fell apart, largely due to script issues the studio had, in addition to the fact that they couldn’t secure rights from MLB, and everyone knows that baseball movies using fake team names kind of blow. Also, there were some budgetary issues and it had limited commercial appeal … blah blah blah.

Anyway, after Sodeberbergh ditched the project, it looked like it was dead. Then Aaron Sorkin came in and punched up the script, although according to The Playlist — which pretty much knows everything there is to know that revolves around projects concerning Soderbergh — none of Sorkin’s scripts have completely pleased Pitt. But he’s still on board, and from the looks of it, Bennett Miller (Capote) is now set to direct. Probably.

The news out now is that Demetri Martin — who was attached to play Paul De Podesta, who looks like this — is being replaced by Jonah Hill, who looks like this. ESPN broke the story, although I happen to know that The Playlist knew this days ago, but was understandably wary given just how stupid a move the new casting decision is and understandably didn’t pull the trigger on it

The idea, it seems, is that producer Amy Pascal — who has a serious case of *headupass* — is angling for a new direction, perhaps a bromance or a romantic comedy angle that would better sell the movie. About sabermetrics. And the Oakland Athletics. Because … oh, just fuck it.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.