Columbia Pictures was aghast when the latest script for the adaptation of Michael Lewis' Moneyball arrived. So much so that they've put the project in turnaround. Oh, and: production was supposed to start next week.
Per a Variety report that dropped today, Columbia Studio head Amy Pascal hated the script so much when she got it, she shut down production on the movie, which was supposed to start Monday in Phoenix. The script, adapted from Lewis' book by Steve Zaillian (American Gangster, Schindler's List) and Steven Soderbergh, had changed so much since Pascal had first seen it, that she's given Soderbergh and Pitt the weekend to find a new home for the movie, either with Paramount or Warner Bros.
The movie, starring Brad Pitt, Demetri Martin, and a bunch of actual baseball players (David Justice, et al) isn't exactly a traditional baseball flick, but this was also the project that ended up sidelining Steven Soderbergh's epic - and hopefully, epically flamboyant - musical take on the life of Cleopatra ("Cleo"), so, you know, you get what you pay for. Variety suggests that if they can't line someone else up to take over the bill of the movie, Columbia's either going to (A) try to replace Soderbergh on the project, (B) delay production indefinitely until Soderbergh and Pascal can agree on what's going to happen once the thing gets back into gear or (C) scrap the entire thing.
Meanwhile, Michael Lewis is still sitting on piles of money from his Vanity Fair writing contract and this, while a small bump in the road for him, certainly isn't the end of it. This project's far too beloved by Hollywood for it to go anywhere but (eventually) into production, and Brad Pitt's probably not going to stick around if Soderbergh gets taken off of it.
But most importantly, here's the list of facepalm-worthy baseball wordplay Variety used in their report:
"Columbia Pictures has dropped the ball"
"attempting to get another studio to play ball in a game that will play out"
"turnaround news on "Moneyball" is surprising, given that had reached the equivalent of third base"
"Oakland A's general manager who found success fielding competitive teams for low cost"
Sony scraps Soderbergh's 'Moneyball' [Variety]