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Moneyball strikes out

06.22.2009

Production was expected to begin today in Phoenix, Arizona on the baseball flick MONEYBALL that would've reteamed star Brad Pitt and director Steven Soderbergh. But on Friday afternoon, Columbia Pictures head Amy Pascal put the project in "limited turnaround," effectively dropping the pic and allowing another studio to pick up the film. So what happened that a studio backed out of a Brad Pitt starring film just three days before filming was supposed to begin?

The trouble started when Soderbergh turned in a final shooting draft that executives found "very different" than the one they had greenlit by Steven Zaillian. While the budget was a modest $60 million, Sony felt the film's new vision wasn't worth the risk (especially with the thinking that the project wouldn't work well internationally).

So what next? There are essentially two options. First, a new studio could pick the film up as is (Warner Bros. and Paramount are said to be interested) and the only impact to production would be a few days of filming. Second, if no other suitor could be found by today, Columbia could drop Soderbergh and attempt to find a new director that would bring the original vision to screens (with hopes that Pitt doesn't follow his buddy out the door) or just drop the film altogether.

Extra Tidbit: Soderbergh has filmed a number of segments for the film already including interviews with former Major League Baseball players.
Source: Variety

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