Michael Lewis' Baseball Book Moneyball Being Adapted
Our friends over at Collider recently spoke at length with producer Michael De Luca on all things 21, Metal Gear Solid, the process of producing, and more. One little area that caught my eye was his mention of the book Moneyball. Michael Lewis' non-fiction book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a baseball and business management combo that is about Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, and his team's modernized, statistics-heavy approach to running the organization. De Luca confirms that he wants to adapt it and seems enthusiastic about the kind of movie it could become.
For those unfamiliar with the book, you need to take a look at this synopsis before continuing on. There is a lot to gain from this book and you can't go in reading about an adaptation without understanding its origins.
From Amazon.com: Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.
This reminds me a lot of Miracle, one of my favorite sports movies of all time, where coach Herb Brooks decided that the team that could defeat the Russians wasn't one full of all-star players but rather one that would become an actual team. What exactly is the take that De Luca is going for with Moneyball?
"The take is basically a kind of dramatic depiction of that 2002 season. It's still going to be kind of a journalistic endeavor, the movie, but it's condensed to really the beginning and end of that season that contained the 22 game winning streak."
"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."
Thankfully De Luca understands the inherit theme and lesson(s) to be learned from Moneyball, mentioning that "the good news is the theme in that book of individuality over the establishment and thinking outside the box" won't of course be forgotten (in the adaptation) because it's a universal theme. He adds that "the book is handed out at all these corporate retreats for any business because what it has in its DNA is this strong advocating of not sticking to conventional wisdom." It's odd to hear a Hollywood producer believing in something like that, but De Luca seems a bit out of the ordinary himself.
Although De Luca did mention that Sony is excited to take this project to the next phase, they haven't really found a director they like yet and it's not anywhere near moving into production. That's not a concern, however, because I'd rather side with De Luca and wait until a director who is a great fit for this is found. This sounds like a movie that could definitely turn out great and I'm anxious to see it come together. Hopefully we'll be bringing you more updates on this adaptation soon enough.
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