Jonah Hill steps in for Demetri Martin in Moneyball

Here's a weird one. According to ESPN, Demetri Martin has dropped out of director Bennett Miller's MONEYBALL. Replacing the beanpole comedian will be rotund funny guy Jonah Hill.

Hill would be stepping into the role of Paul DePodesta. DePodesta, currently part of the San Diego Padres front-office, was in 1999 an assistant to Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (to be played by Brad Pitt) who together implemented the analytical principles of "sabermetrics" that helped the A's build a competitive team on the cheap.

MONEYBALL has a somewhat interesting history. Steven Soderbergh was set to direct at one point and was just days away from shooting when he suddenly got canned for unconfirmed reasons. He was replaced by Bennett Miller (CAPOTE). On the writing front, the film was going off a Steve Zaillian (AMERICAN GANGSTER, SCHINDLER'S LIST) script before another A-List writer was brought on to rewrite: Aaron Sorkin (THE SOCIAL NETWORK, A FEW GOOD MEN). According to IMDb, other writers have had a hand in the screenplay, though it's not really clear if they came in on the Zaillian script or the Sorkin rewrite.

Hill's involvement has been said to be a move to appeal to a broader audience, though when your lead is Brad Pitt (who's somehow managed to stay on board throughout all these changes), I think your film's appeal is about as broad as it's gonna get.
Extra Tidbit: Here's a snapshot of Paul DePodesta - who couldn't possibly look any less like Jonah Hill - with former Los Angeles Dodger Derek Lowe.



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