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Why Sony dropped 'Moneyball'
Was it wise for the studio to pull the plug on a Steven Soderbergh movie starring Brad Pitt just days before shooting was set to begin?
 

"The last-minute demise of a high-profile film project, especially one starring an A-list star" like Brad Pitt, said Michael Cieply in The New York Times, "is Hollywood's equivalent of a bridge collapse." So Sony's recent decision to pull the plug on its "troubled baseball movie," Moneyball, which Steven Soderbergh was set to direct and Pitt was signed on to star in, is a "rare" spectacle—not to mention "painful, expensive, and damaging to all involved."

But it's easy to understand why Sony did it, said Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times. Soderbergh "delivered a script that was inventive but a radical departure from the film Sony thought he was going to make." The studio became "nervous" that the "end result would be one of Soderbergh's 'experimental' films, like Bubble or The Girlfriend Experience, not one of his more polished gems, like Out of Sight or Ocean's Eleven."

Steven Soderbergh's only crime was striving for authenticity, said Dashiell Bennett in Deadspin. Moneyball is based on Michael Lewis' 2003 nonfiction book about Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who tried to put together a team on a limited budget, and Soderbergh "didn't want anything in the movie that didn't actually happen. So Billy Beane isn't a sweaty, foul-mouthed, Hooters waitress slayer?" Can you really blame Soderbergh for not wanting to go in that direction?

 

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