Has Soderbergh's Moneyball Movie Been Canned?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
June 22 2009 12:23 PM

Has Soderbergh's Moneyball Movie Been Canned?

Variety reported yesterday that the Steven Soderbergh/Brad Pitt production of Moneyball , Michael Lewis' great book about how Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane used statistics to change baseball, was closed down just 96 hours before shooting began. Apparently, Columbia Pictures chief Amy Pascal read Soderbergh's latest revision to the script, became wary of big changes in it, and pulled the plug, leaving the director casting about for a new studio. One unusual element in the planned film? Soderbergh intended to splice "interviews with such ballplayers as Beane's former Mets teammates Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson and Darryl Strawberry" throughout. 

This news raises the possibility of two grim outcomes: 1) that Moneyball may never get made and 2) that if it does get made, it may not be any good. Although interviews with Dykstra are always entertaining , the plan to include documentary footage worries those of us who are big fans of blockbuster Soderbergh (director of Out of Sight , Erin Brockovich and the Ocean's Eleven movies) and less enamored of his arty, experimental alter ego (director of Bubble and the two-part, four hour-plus Che epic). We'd assumed that Moneyball , the tale of a general manager leading a poor, underdog team to unprecedented success, would be a kind of Ballpark Eleven : A heist movie about a team of likeable smartypantses (including Pitt as Beane, comedian Demitri Martin as number-cruncher Paul De Podesta, and charming ballplayer Scott Hatteberg as himself) sticking it to the smug baseball establishment. But perhaps Pascal got spooked because Soderbergh has something more unorthodox in mind: A star-studded feature film intercut with a semi-documentary meditation on Beane himself. We may never know!

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

How Movies Like Contagion and Outbreak Distort Our Response to Real Epidemics

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

An Unscientific Ranking of Really, Really Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 23 2014 10:30 AM Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 8:51 AM The Male-Dominated Culture of Business in Tech Is Not Great for Women
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 23 2014 11:08 AM Seeing the Familiar in Black and White
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.