Sony Can’t Get MONEYBALL Rolling
Steven Soderbergh’s unique vision for Moneyball may have proved too much for Sony execs. The Brad Pitt-starrer was put into “limited turnaround” on Friday, giving the filmmakers until today to find another studio to set the film up with. This is a sudden and unfortunate series of events, as the film was set to begin filming tomorrow in Phoenix.
The trouble stemmed from the final draft of the script turned in by Steven Zaillian, which Sony exec Amy Pascal thought had veered too sharply away from the original drafts she had fought so hard for. She felt Soderbergh’s direction had changed too much, and thus shut the project down. If Soderbergh isn’t able to find a new studio home for the movie, Sony would look into replacing Soderbergh while hoping Pitt doesn’t jump ship, too.
A non-traditional sports movie, Moneyball follows the real-life story of Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane as he and his team ushered in a new era of baseball by using revolutionary tactics for scouting and drafting players. Soderbergh’s ideas included using animated segments, testimonials, as well as scripted scenes to unfold the narrative.
I get that Pascal is concerned with making a film she thinks will sell to audiences. After all, with rumors earlier this week that Imagine That tanking was the reason for two high level Paramount execs getting canned, profitability is as big a concern as ever. I would love to see a studio take a chance on Soderbergh’s innovative vision, but with a budget north of $50 million, I can see how greenlighting Moneyball would give Pascal pause, even with a bankable star like Pitt firmly committed. Let’s hope Paramount or Warner Bros. has the stones to step up to the plate; it’d be a real shame to see Soderbergh’s creativity and boldness get stifled due to budget concerns.