The rumor mill abounds with talk of Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin
starring in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film adaptation of Michael
Lewis’ Moneyball. Movie buff and baseball lover that you are, does this project even have a realistic chance of being good?
Every year movie studios sink millions of dollars into adaptations of books that received either critical or commercial acclaim. This year alone we’ve already seen Watchmen hit the big screen and Dan Brown’s prequel to The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, comes out in the next couple weeks. However, the one thing that most of these adaptations have in common is a plot, some sort of narrative device to push the story forward.
I enjoyed reading Moneyball. Michael Lewis, although I may not always agree with him, has a Malcolm Gladwell-ish quality about him in that he is able to present a quantitative side of a game that often goes unnoticed. But I have no idea how you turn that into a movie. It’s like Fast Food Nation. It’s an interesting book. It has interesting ideas. But a movie? No.
Now, the wild card here is the artistic team. I do love me some Brad Pitt and I find Demetri Martin amusing in small doses. Soderbergh obviously has legitimate directing bona fides. But how do you turn a book like Moneyball into a movie? I suppose you could have David Mamet rewrite the script and turn it into some profanity-laden, baseball-centric version of Glengarry Glen Ross but I don’t see that happening.
No, most likely they’ll strip all the baseball egg-head information from the story and make it into a movie about the unlikely but ultimately successful partnership between a former jock and an up and coming nerd. Throw in a little Brokeback for good measure and maybe they strike gold. But I doubt it. Let’s just say that this project is a little more Shelley Levene than it is Ricky Roma.