'Moneyball' Is Very Much About Baseball
Unlike most sports movies, Moneyball isn’t a story about a romance. It also isn’t a sports film about some huge developing storyline leading up to the big important game.
No, that’s not what Moneyball, directed by Bennett Miller, the brilliant mind behind 2005’s Capote, is really about baseball.
Miller tells journalists, during the first press conference that kicked off the 36th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), that Moneyball is very much a film about the sport. However, it’s also a film about a guy who thinks he’s trying to win baseball games, when the truth of the matter is that something much deeper is really happening.
“This is a guy who’s life did not turn out the way it was supposed to, the way it had been described to him - that he had a destiny, that he was going to be great, that he was going to be a superstar,” says Miller. “It took him more than a decade toiling in failure before he accepted that things were not going to happen.”
“Once you begin to pull on that string and really challenge everything that you know about yourself, about your past, about decisions you’ve made - it ends up being a story much bigger than a sports story, much bigger than a baseball story,” continues Miller. “So it is a sports movie very much, we took great pains to be truthful, but to me, it’s what’s beneath it that’s interesting.”
Based on Lewis’ bestselling novel, Moneyball follows the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a chubby young statistics nerd and how together they take on the world of baseball by putting into play their own system.
This radical new system, whereby players aren’t evaluated in the traditional way - scouted for their hard-hitting talents - is something Beane quickly and eagerly embraces, a system they call “moneyball.” It’s an unorthodox way of putting a team together, which left a huge imprint on how the game is played.
“It’s complicated material, it’s not your conventional story or storyline ... I couldn’t let go of this story of these guys who were trapped in an unfair game, an unfair situation, that by necessity they had to think differently, they had to reinvent themselves,” says Pitt. “At the end of the day it’s a story about our values, about how we value other people, what we value as success, what we value as failure.”
Moneyball, which also stars Chris Pratt as first baseman Scott Hatteberg and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Oakland A’s manager Art Howe, is a cleverly inspiring and relatable film. It’s about new opportunities and demonstrates how even the most unlikely underdog can climb his way to the top - on and off the big screen.
“When I was making the movie, I never really related to Billy (Beane) or my character, I really related to the character Chad Bradford, (in) the scene where he says no one ever really gave me a chance or an opportunity,” says Hill. “Superbad is the reason I know any of you here. Amy (Pascal) and Doug (Belgrad) and Judd Apatow (from Sony) gave me that opportunity, where I was a very unlikely choice at that time to be the star of a big motion picture and again with this movie ... so I do feel like I continually get that underdog opportunity.”
Moneyball opens in theaters nationwide September 23rd. For screening times during TIFF visit www.tiff.net.
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