Steven Soderbergh Baseball Flick Axed by Columbia
Posted 06.22.09 by reelz
Sony's Columbia Pictures unexpectedly announced yesterday that it would scrap Steven Soderbergh's Moneyball, which was scheduled to begin shooting today in Phoenix. The movie was to star Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the Oakland A's manager whose unique economical and statistical approach to building player rosters allowed the team to be competitive with more lucrative baseball franchises such as the Yankees.
The dramatized script, written by Steven Zaillian, is based on Michael Lewis's non-fiction book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Several Major League players, both past and present, agreed to participate in Soderbergh's movie, either as actors or interviewees. They include David Justice, Darryl Strawberry, Lenny Dykstra, and Scott Hatteberg.
Sony Chairman Amy Pascal reportedly read Soderbergh's rewrite of Zaillian's screenplay and objected to the changes. Soderbergh had apparently planned an unorthodox narrative structure that the studio worried would alienate audiences. There also may have been a secondary concern that the baseball-centric theme would detract from worldwide ticket sales. In a column on Movie Line, writer S.T. Vanairsdale gave a rundown of these theories with some astute commentary.
Soderbergh and Pitt's representatives are currently looking for another studio to fund the movie, with rumors pointing to Paramount or Warner Bros. as likely backers. We will let you know when we hear more.