OK, this wasn't supposed to work. After The Blind Side, Michael Lewis' amazing book about the history and science of offensive linemen, got turned into a surprise hit movie, movie studios started poking around his backlist and decided to go for two with Moneyball, Lewis' even more amazing book about the Oakland A's and the rise of statistical analysis as a tool in baseball management. No matter that Moneyball was missing the kind of heartwarming plot that drove the success of The Blind Side, one that could stand on its own after a moviemaker stripped out all the complicated science at the heart of the book. %embed1% So Hollywood hired Oscar-winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian to collaborate with Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh who decided to take a more abstract approach to the story, mixing in documentary-style interviews with the real-life players in the story with scenes featuring Brad Pitt as controversial A's general manager Billy Beane. Sony freaked out and pulled the plug just before filming was supposed to start. There's a leaked version of Zaillian's screenplay floating around the Internet if you know where to look.
Brad Pitt really wanted to make the movie, so the studio tried again with soon-to-be-Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin, whose new screenplay got handed over to Capote director Bennett Miller.
All this controversy and rewriting combined with a book that didn't really have a movie-style story arc should have spelled disaster, but it looks like Sorkin may have performed the same magic he did with The Social Network, finding a compelling story in a series of incidents that don't seem like they'll make a good movie.
This trailer looks great and Brad Pitt looks like he's interested in being a movie star again, at least for now. Moneyball comes out in theaters on September 23rd.