Sports fans all over the country are undoubtedly excited for the release of Moneyball, but maybe not as much as those fans in the Bay Area. This film encapsulates a special time in the sporting realm of Northern California, with many scenes sure to invoke a fan's memory banks of those Oakland A's of yesteryear.
Stephen Bishop, the actor playing David Justice in Moneyball, recently sat down with shockya.com to talk about his upcoming role, his time as a minor league ballplayer, and how it was working with Brad Pitt.
Shockya (SY): You portray former Major League Baseball outfielder David Justice in the upcoming film ‘Moneyball,' Did being a player in the Pioneer Minor Baseball League yourself in the 1990s influence your decision to portray David, who played for the Athletics in 2002, in the film?
Stephen Bishop (SB): No, it didn't influence the decision, but it definitely helped give me a bit of perspective. Having an idea, at least on some level, of what professional baseball players go through and the emotions they experience was a huge advantage when attempting to accurately portray David.
SY: How did you prepare for the role? Did you meet David and/or do research into his life and career before you began filming?
SB: I actually already knew David from my playing days with the Braves. He and I are friends, and have been since then, so it wasn't too hard to prepare. I idolized him as a kid and so I knew his mannerisms, etc., so that made it quite easy to transform physically. I called him and asked him some questions about his mindset during that time in his career and his relationship with Billy Beane. He was very helpful and generous with his insights.
SY: While shooting ‘Moneyball,' did you feel any pressure to portray David in a certain way? What were the hardest and easiest parts of the role?
SB: I felt a pressure to make sure he was portrayed in the best light possible while not taking anything away from the story that was being told. David is a great guy and I wanted to make sure that he was happy with the way I played him. Also, I wanted his fans to be impressed with the similarity between the character and the man. The easiest part was getting his swing down. I knew it like the back of my hand anyway. The hardest part was learning to throw left-handed.
SY: Brad Pitt portrays Billy in ‘Moneyball.' What was your experience like working with him?
SB: Brad was a great guy. (He's) really down to earth, despite that fact that he's clearly a mega star. He and I had some things in common, like our affinity for green building, so we had some good conversations while shooting. I had a one-on-one scene with him, so I got a chance to spend some significant time with him and was impressed with his cool. He even signed the jersey I wore in the film so that I could frame it. I also got David to sign it so that's my prized possession right now.
For the full interview, head over to shockya.com