Steven Soderbergh has secured Comedy Central star Demetri Martin to play a key role in his adaptation of Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball.”
The Columbia Pictures project, sure to be the most cinematic feature ever made about on-base percentage and the wisdom of drafting low-downside college players over high-upside high school players, will star Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane.
According to Variety, production on Moneyball will begin in June, with Steve Zaillian doing a polish on the screenplay be Stan Chervin. The trade paper adds that David Justice and Scott Hatteberg, cogs on Beane’s A’s teams, and Daryl Strawberry and Lenny Dykstra, minor league teammates of Beane’s, will play themselves.
Beane, for those folks who skipped Lewis’ bestseller, was a highly drafted hot-shot prospect who flamed out as a player, but soared through the Athletics’ front office ranks with an innovative strategy prioritizing statistical analysis over traditional baseball scouting. For several years earlier this decade, the Athletics regularly won division titles, despite one of baseball’s lowest payrolls. It’s unlikely the movie will concentrate on recent years, where the Athletics have routinely been thumped by the Angels, a division rival with a substantially higher payroll.
Martin, creator/star of “Important Things With Demetri Martin,” will play Paul DePodesta, a computer-wielding Harvard-educated hotshot who became Beane’s right-hand. DePodesta went on to a much-maligned tenure as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and has most recently been working in the Padres organization.
Soderbergh is catching Martin on the verge of a career crest. The comic stars in Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock,” which will open in August.