Due to recent season struggles, the Oakland Athletics have remained off the national radar. Since reaching the 2006 ALCS, the A's have been overlooked outside of Dallas Braden's 2010 perfect game. The world premiere of Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, has put the A's back on the national radar. With big names like Pitt and Hill in the movie, the A's have reached the point of even getting on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Pitt spoke with SI senior writer Austin Murphy about his baseball knowledge (or lack thereof) and how he prepared for the role of Billy Beane. Moneyball is more about the revolutionary ideas Beane used to help his Oakland A's remain competitive with the rest of the league, but stats can only do so much in a nationally released movie.
Screen-writers Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, and Stan Chervin were able to take a well-written book by Michael Lewis and further flush out the characters. Lewis quietly put together interesting character depictions of the principals and the screenwriters were able to successfully build on that. The movie thus was able to take the basic premise of Moneyball and develop the character depictions, resulting in a fantastic movie.
The Brad Pitt SI cover is the September 26 issue hitting news stands Wednesday. Here are some of Pitt's comments from the article:
- Pitt's background (or lack thereof) in baseball:"It's shameful how little I know about baseball.... I'm amazed they let me do this movie.... Baseball and I didn't get along that well. I wrestled one year [in high school]. I dove one year. Everything but baseball."
- How Pitt acquitted himself to his role as a baseball lifer:"I'm an Oklahoma-Missouri boy, so I'm no stranger to a bit of dip. We start early with that, so really, I was just revisiting my roots."
- What Pitt was initially drawn to about the story:"I'm a sucker for the underdog story."
- The end goal of the film:"What we were trying to do is tell an unconventional story in the Trojan horse of a conventional baseball movie."
- The comparisons Pitt makes to the movie and three of his favorite '70s films (The French Connection,One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,All the President's Men):"In scripts today, someone has a big epiphany, learns a lesson, then comes out the other side different. In these older films I'm talking about, the beast at the end of the movie was the same beast in the beginning of the movie. What changed was the world around them, by just a couple of degrees. Nothing monumental. I think that's true about us. We fine-tune ourselves, butbigchange is not real."