MLB Approval Still Murky as Moneyball Circles the Drain
Last we checked, a rumor making the rounds insisted that Moneyball stalled because it didn't have Major League Baseball's stamp of approval. Today, meanwhile, Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal opened up a bit about the problems with the Steven Soderbergh/Brad Pitt film that infamously imploded last week just before shooting was to begin. In a separate report, the NY Times offers some of the perspective that we've heard at Movieline HQ as well. Like that whole Soderbergh-vs.-Pascal script issue? I don't doubt it, but I'm not getting the warmest, fuzziest feeling about the project from Major League Baseball, either.
Contacted yesterday afternoon in a follow-up by Movieline, MLB spokesman Matt Bourne corroborated what he told the NYT: The league had been "having a dialogue" with Sony to approve the use of their franchises' logos and uniforms, thus nailing down the historical accuracy of author Michael Lewis's best-selling source material. But pressed further over whether any approval had been granted -- it's a pretty straight yes-or-no question -- Bourne reiterated that the league continued to work with the studio on clearances for the film, adding, "We're not the reason for the hold-up."
Sony reserved its own comment for the blowout piece over at the LAT, where Pascal elaborated on the company line that Soderbergh's script revisions went too experimentally far afield for the studio's taste:
To hear her tell it, Soderbergh delivered a script that was inventive but a radical departure from the film Sony thought he was going to make. It was, put simply, more of a dramatic re-creation than a feature film.
"I've wanted to work with Steven forever, because he's simply a great filmmaker," Pascal told me today. "But the draft he turned in wasn't at all what we'd signed up for. He wanted to make a dramatic reenactment of events with real people playing themselves. I'd still work with Steven in a minute, but in terms of this project, he wanted to do the film in a different way than we did."
Pascal confirms she'd still be interested in shooting Steven Zaillian's original script with Pitt, a Soderbergh loyalist whose agents at CAA would still love nothing more than to bundle in one of their directors and put this humiliation behind them. (Co-star and fellow CAA client Demetri Martin could use the gig, too.) But with the parties on no fewer than three different development pages (literally), the smartest step for everybody may just be to let it die. Soderbergh needs to get back to Cleo anyway, right?
· Sony's Amy Pascal speaks out about 'Moneyball' [The Big Picture/LAT]