Brad Pitt's Double Bill: The Odyssey and Moneyball
by Alex Billington
October 17, 2008
Two major casting announcements for Brad Pitt tonight, both being interesting projects based on literature. The first, an outer space adaptation of Homer's "The Odyssey"; the second, Steve Zaillian's adaptation of Michael Lewis' nonfiction book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game". Given I went through the American education system myself and was forced to read "The Odyssey", I know that almost everyone is familiar with that story, but what is Moneyball all about? The book is a baseball and business management combo that tells the story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, and his team's modernized, statistics-heavy approach to running the organization ??.
The Odyssey project is setup at Warner Brothers with Happy Feet director George Miller set to adapt the screenplay and hopefully direct. Instead of telling the classic story in ancient Greek times, when it was written by Homer, the intention is to transfer it to a futuristic setting in outer space, further continuing Hollywood's upcoming sci-fi trend. Warner Brothers doesn't have Brad Pitt or George Miller signed and ready to go, but they're giving this an early greenlight in hopes of securing both of them. "The Odyssey" follows the Greek hero Odysseus and his long journey home to Ithaca following the fall of Troy. If this were set in a world as stunning as Mass Effect, it could be incredible, but I fear it won't be that great.
Moneyball is a project setup at Sony that we first mentioned way back in March. Oscar winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List, Mission: Impossible, American Gangster) has signed on to adapt the screenplay for David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) to direct. I absolutely love the concept of this book and really hope it turns out well on the big screen. Producer Michael De Luca previously explained what their take is: a "dramatic depiction of that 2002 season" that is "condensed to really the beginning and end of that season that contained the 22 game winning streak." De Luca adds: "I think there should be a mix of a sports movie but also an anti-establishment triumph of the individual in terms of the way Billy Beane went up against conventional wisdom and the bureaucracy."
I'm clearly much more interested in Moneyball than Odyssey, especially because I'm excited to see Brad Pitt give his interpretation of Billy Beane. But that's not to say I have visions of grandeur with an outer space "Odyssey" as well. That image on the cover of the "The Forever War" book keeps coming to mind when thinking about this. Anything sci-fi I'm usually excited by, and I'm probably the only one who will defend this idea, but that's because I'm looking past the basics and into my imagination. I also still firmly believe that Brad Pitt is, hands down, one of the great actors of our generation and will do a great job exploring both of these projects. Which project interests you more - Moneyball or Odyssey?
The Odyssey excites me more, but I'm probably one of the few who enjoy re-imaginations of old classics...
Peloquin on Oct 17, 2008
both sound great, love the oddysey myself, theres enough there to make a few movies so im hopin they dont hold back and let it be crap
harrison on Oct 17, 2008
I'm more interested in Odyssey. I enjoyed the story when I was a teen, and dissecting every little bit of it. Pitt is on a serious roll with his projects.
tzarinna on Oct 17, 2008
Go Odyssey! Sounds great. It's a great book as well. Sorry to hear you were 'forced' to read something.
Lefthanded on Oct 17, 2008
A retelling of the Odyssey set in the future? This is quite risky business. It can only go two ways: really good.. or really bad. I don't think there's a middle ground. If they are able to encompass epic settings and not just leave the characters inside the ship, it might accomplish something, but that requires lots of money. It could only work if WB shoves a lot of money into the movie, aiming for a summer blockbuster, but with Green Lantern already requiring loads of cash, I just dunno.
Alfredo on Oct 17, 2008
how can anyone begrudge being made to read the odyssey? it's perfect.
fanboy d on Oct 17, 2008
I had no clue Moneyball was being considered for a feature film, and I absolutely love the concept. Shot in a style similar to Thank You For Smoking, it could bring down the house.
Devon Shaw on Oct 17, 2008
Christ, between the 15 lined up on his IMDB page and Angelina with a bunch lined up, you would think they would slow down a bit.
Ryan on Oct 18, 2008
the odyssey would be very interesting. but i think when sean bean was odysseus in troy it was great. give it to him. even in a sci fi setting sean bean would knock it out of the park
drew on Oct 18, 2008
Definitely excited to see Moneyball over The Odyssey
Jaqui on Oct 18, 2008
Would love to see odyssey definitely but this idea is certainly not new, and is in fact based on the absolute finest sci fi cartoon series of the 80s and one of the best of all time, Ulysses 31, set in the 31st century and follows the man himself, his son Telemachus, a young alien (Zotran) girl called Umi and an annoying little robot no-no in their trials against the gods the find earth. It would be interesting to see the parallels between the series and the film, but it definitely deserves recognition as the brilliant predecessor to this concept.
T1mmoboy on Jun 8, 2012
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