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MONEYBALL

Production Information
In 2003, former Salomon Brothers bond trader turned author Michael Lewis, at the time best known for such business and politics bestsellers as Liar's Poker and The New New Thing, published a book about baseball. Only it wasn't just about baseball. On the surface, it was about how the under-funded, underrated Oakland A's took on an unfair system of big-money and powerhouse teams. But it was really about the fascinating mix of men behind a major cultural shift and how a risky vision, born from necessity, becomes reality, when a ragtag team of cast-offs rejected due to unfounded biases, get the chance to finally prove their potential.

Now, Lewis's book has been adapted into a feature film, Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the A's General Manager – the man who would have to think differently and reinvent the rules if his team was going to compete. "Moneyball is a classic underdog story,” says Pitt, who also serves as a producer of the project. "They go up against the system. How are they going to survive, how are they going to compete? Even if they do groom good talent, that talent gets poached by the big-market, big-money teams. And what these guys decided was, they couldn't fight the other guy's fight, or they were going to lose. They had to re-examine everything, to look for new knowledge, to find some kind of justice.”

At first glimpse, Lewis' best-selling and groundbreaking book does not lend itself to a film adaptation. The book is a study of inefficiencies and oversights within the markets of the game of baseball and features case studies of undervalued items, (players, strategies, tactics), using analyses of statistics and theories. But at the center of it all is Billy Beane on a quixotic quest and as his story unfolds, something unexpected happens. His pursuit of a championship leads to something larger and more meaningful. The hallways and front offices of the Oakland Coliseum become an unlikely setting for inspiration and redemption.

Lewis' book shed light on the hindrances of groupthink and how irrational intuition and conventional ‘wisdom' have dominated institutions throughout history. Challenging a system invariably provokes a fight. The film Moneyball builds its foundation from the experience of one man who chooses to take on that fight. Piercing through the layers of statistics, the film finds the quieter, deeper, and more personal story of Billy Beane, which bristles with moments of self-doubt and real life courage.

"Whenever a book is adapted into a movie, there are two possibilities: either the filmmakers stick to the book, or they make up their own story,” says Michael Lewis. "With Moneyball, frankly, I wondered how they were going to do it, because the book doesn't necessarily have a single narrative or the kind of dramatic arc you usually see in a movie. So it was truly tough to crack the code and get it right and it was an extremely pleasant surprise to see that Bennett and the screenwriters did the impossible – not only did I love the movie, but I was stunned by how well it represents my book. It is honest and true to what happened with Billy and the A's and what they achieved.”

That story is very close to Pitt and one that he was uniquely suited and positioned to see through, as both an actor and a producer. He has played a variety of roles and characters and often makes surprising choices – yet has never played an iconoclast like Billy Beane, a fiercely competitive middle-aged family man, driven by a desire to win – and perhaps, even more importantly, reinvent himself. Pitt's determination to play this part on the screen resulted in a dogged support from the actor/producer, one he saw through a long development process in the effort to get it right. Moneyball found a match with director Bennett Miller. Miller had a garnered a rare first-timer's Oscar® nomination for Best Director with his debut film, the acclaimed Capote.

"It was Bennett who cracked it,” says Pitt. "The book really isn't a conventional story, and because of that – to do it justice – Bennett did not want to make a conventional movie. We were all very passionate about the project, but it is Bennett's desire to make a certain kind of movie that ultimately formed the movie that is on the screen.”

"Brad had personal reasons for wanting to make this story,” says director Bennett Miller. "Over the course of making the film, Brad revealed himself to be more than just a great actor— he is a great collaborator and producer. We saw the movie as a classic search-for-wisdom story – I think there's something thrilling about people relinquishing long-held, conventional, conformist, universal beliefs. It gets really exciting when there are personal consequences to it. On the surface, he's trying to win baseball games, but beneath it all, there's something he's trying to work out. That is a timeless story.”

"In many ways, Billy's going up against an institution – one that many smart individuals have dedicated their lives to,” says Pitt. "The minute you start questioning any of those norms, you can be labeled a heretic or dismissed as foolish. These guys had to step back and ask, ‘If we were going to start this game today, is this how we'd do it?' A system that has worked for 150 years doesn't work for us – I think that's applicable to the moments of flux we're experiencing today.”

"The film is about how we value things,” Pitt continues. "How we value each other; how we value ourselves; and how we decide who's a winner based on those values. The film questions the very idea of how to define success. It places great value on this quiet, personal victory, the victory that's not splashed across the headlines or necessarily results in trophies, but that, for Beane, became a kind of personal Everest. At the end of the day, we all hope that what we're doing will be of some value, that it will mean something and I think that is this character's quest.”

Miller adds, "I wasn't interested in the tropes of sports movies. I'd rather not end a film with a hero carried off on the shoulders of teammates in a stadium where fans are screaming their heads off, champagne corks flying, trophies, fireworks, and all of that. I prefer the quiet triumphs, that might not burn as bright but deeper and more lasting, where you see someone struggle internally and then come out the other side to realize something has changed within them.”

"Bennett has the gravitas and the command as a filmmaker to get to the richer themes and more profound aspects of this story,” says producer Michael De Luca. "Sports movies can be great metaphors for life, and Bennett brings a strong view of contemporary life to the process.”

Though he is a baseball fan, and sparked to the idea of a different cinematic take on the sports world, Miller was also drawn to the deeper fabric of Billy Beane's story. "I like that you have a character who takes a risk not just to make something of himself, but more so to understand something about himself,” Miller explains. "On the one hand this is a true sports drama, but Billy is trying to do something more meaningful than simply win baseball games – whether he understands that or not.”

Miller says those consequences come up in the questions Beane faces – which, ultimately, are questions we all must face: "How do you compare the value of one thing to another, of one person against another, of the choices in your life?”

One early reader of Lewis's book was New York-based producer Rachael Horovitz, who connected with the universal appeal of Billy Beane's trajectory and saw the bones of a great movie. "He is a great character, a complex outsider,

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