20 facts you might not know about ‘Moneyball’ Movie

20 facts you might not know about 'Moneyball' Movie
Hopefully, The 20 facts you might not know about ‘Moneyball’ Movie

Facts you might not know about ‘Moneyball’ – The first screenwriter wasn’t around long, A new duo then took over the project, Enter Stephen Soderbergh, Soderbergh had some interesting ideas, The movie was almost lost, Finally, the team was finished and more

Imagine a critically acclaimed, crowd-pleasing movie. OK, so it’s a sports movie. That makes sense so far, right? Is it an underdog story? your bet Everything is still on track. It’s business as usual. Oh, and it focuses on a couple of people in the front office who are trying to use advanced statistics to make smart decisions on a shoestring budget. Is this crowd pleaser? Indeed it is, and that movie is Moneyball.

Here are 20 facts about the movie that we found interesting, and we don’t care what explorers say. It’s all in the numbers.

The movie is based on a book

In 2003, Michael Lewis released his non-fiction book Moneyball , chronicling Billy Beane’s philosophies about team-building with the 2002 Oakland Athletics. It was a popular book but focused on using analytics and numbers to work around the margins to find success. Not exactly fodder for a film, but Sony acquired the rights in 2004 anyway. Later, another Lewis book would be adapted into a successful film, The Big Short.

The first screenwriter wasn’t around long

When Sony bought the rights to Moneyball, Stan Chervin was hired to write the screenplay. If you haven’t heard of him, that’s understandable. This was his first screenplay, and he was quickly taken off the project. In the end, he only got a ‘story by” credit. Since Moneyball, he has only one other credit, the 2013 film Space Warriors, which we have never heard of.

A new duo then took over the project

Chervin went out, and in came Stephen Zaillian as the writer and David Frankel as the director. Zaillian, unlike Chervin, had a great track record. He had written films such as Schindler’s List and Gangs of New York, among others. Frankel, meanwhile, had directed The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me. Zaillian ended up with a co-writing credit. As for Frankel, well…

Enter Stephen Soderbergh

Frankel was the first person to talk with Brad Pitt about starring as Billy Beane, but he would leave the project in 2009. At this point, Stephen Soderbergh took over as the director. He was an Oscar winner and had made three Ocean’s movies with Brad Pitt, so the hiring made sense — until it didn’t.

Soderbergh had some interesting ideas

With Soderbergh involved, Pitt was on board to play Beane. He also cast Demetri Martin as Paul DePodesta, who worked in Beane’s front office. After that, things got weird. He wanted to make the movie a pseudo-documentary, mixing real life with narrative film. He cast Scott Hatteberg and David Justice, two A’s players, as themselves. Also, apparently, he had the idea of an animated character, perhaps an animated version of baseball writer Bill James, to pop in to explain baseball minutiae to the audience.

The movie was almost lost

Soderbergh’s version of the movie spooked Sony executives. They decided to cancel the movie and put it into turnaround. Not to get into the jargon of the movie industry, but this could have been the end of the movie, or at least the end of it at Sony. While the movie would stick at Sony, Soderbergh was ousted from the directing role.

Finally, the team was finished

When Moneyball was taken out of turnaround, Bennett Miller was hired to direct it. It was perhaps an unusual choice because his only previous fiction film was Capote, which did win Philip Seymour Hoffman a deserving Oscar. Fittingly enough, Hoffman would end up in Moneyball as Art Howe, Oakland’s manager. Meanwhile, with Zaillian’s blessing, Aaron Sorkin was brought in to work on a new version of the script. In the end, the two shared screenplay credit.

One casting choice changed a character’s name

Paul DePodesta went to Harvard, but he played football and baseball there. He was an athletic young guy. When Miller took over, the DePodesta character was to be played by Jonah Hill, with his performance putting forth a different take on DePodesta — one not really based on him or his personality. That, along with not being comfortable with somebody portraying a version of him to the world, led to DePodesta not wanting his name used in the movie. Hill’s character became Peter Brand, and DePodesta praised Hill’s performance.

One MLB player portrayed another

Royce Clayton was in MLB from 1991 until 2007, making one All-Star Game. He had a solid career, though not quite as good as Miguel Tejada. Tejada was a star shortstop for the Athletics. Instead of trying to get an actor to be able to depict Tejada’s skills and stature accurately, Clayton was cast to play Tejada.

Chris Pratt had to audition a couple times

When Pratt first auditioned to play Scott Hatteberg, he was told he was not in good enough shape to play the MLB athlete. Undeterred, Pratt worked out extensively and lost 30 pounds. With his new physique, Pratt auditioned again and got the role.

There are a couple cameos, one an odd one

Spike Jonze is a filmmaker best known for movies like Being John Malkovich and Her. He has done a bit of acting, though. In Moneyball, he plays the new husband of Beane’s ex-wife Sharon. Meanwhile, Stephen Schott, co-owner of the Athletics, is played by, of all people, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick.

One stadium stood in for several

Like any baseball team, the Oakland Athletics were all over the place during the 2002 season. Hey, you’ve got to play 81 road games. However, the filming couldn’t go to all the ballparks depicted in the film. Instead, they dressed up Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium to stand in for multiple ballparks.

Some baseball fans had a big complaint

As a story, Moneyball is fun. It’s about underdogs doing smart things to win games. The focus is on all the little moves that Beane made to help his team be successful. However, there was one big thing that rubbed a lot of baseball fans the wrong way. The 2002 Oakland Athletics were arguably carried by their big three pitchers, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito. Those three are barely mentioned in the movie.

One member of the A’s was also unhappy with it

In the film, Art Howe is depicted as against Beane’s ploys and tactics, even directly ignoring them. A few team members said this wasn’t accurate, and Howe was particularly upset about it. He talked openly about being upset with how he was portrayed in the movie.

It was a box-office success

Multiple directors and screenwriters. A film put in turnaround. Oh, and the fact it’s based on a non-fiction book about statistics. Would it have been the least bit surprising if Moneyball had flopped at the box office? That wasn’t the case, though. The movie turned out to be an underdog success. From a budget of $50 million, it made $110.2 million.

The movie also received Oscars love

Moneyball also found critical success. The film got nominated for six Academy Awards. This included nominations for Pitt and Hill but also a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination and a Best Picture nomination. However, the movie took home zero wins.

There is an apocryphal song choice

Kerris Dorsey auditioned to play Beane’s daughter by singing the song “The Show” by Lenka. This led Miller to hire her, and he had her sing the song in the film. This was a notable choice, given that the song came out in 2008, and the movie was set in 2002.

Beane’s second wife was cut out

Beane’s ex-wife, Sharon, is in the film, and the movie depicts the GM as a single divorcee. This wasn’t true in real life, as Beane was already remarried. This was going to be the case in the movie. Kathryn Morris even shot scenes as Beane’s second wife, Tara. Ultimately, all of those scenes were cut from the movie.

Pitt drops something of a titular line

The movie is called Moneyball, and that is the primary title of Lewis’ book. There is a subtitle, though, as the book’s full title is Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. At one point in the movie, Beane does say, “It’s an unfair game.”

The fall of 2011 was a big one for Ron Washington

Ron Washington, a coach for the Athletics in 2002, is a character in the movie. He gets mentioned by name and everything. That’s pretty cool, but something even bigger happened to the man they call “Wash” in 2011. By that point, he was no longer a coach for Oakland, but the manager of the Texas Rangers. Moneyball came out on September 23, 2011. That October, Washington managed the Rangers to an appearance in the World Series. They lost, but it was still quite the fall. Washington finally achieved World Series glory as the third base coach of the Atlanta Braves in 2021.

20 facts you might not know about ‘Moneyball’ Movie

Imagine a critically acclaimed, crowd-pleasing movie. OK, so it’s a sports movie. That makes sense so far, right? Is it an underdog story? your bet Everything is still on track. It’s business as usual. Oh, and it focuses on a couple of people in the front office who are trying to use advanced statistics to make smart decisions on a shoestring budget. Is this crowd pleaser? Indeed it is, and that movie is Moneyball.

20 facts you might not know about ‘Moneyball’ [With Image]

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