Moneyball, based on the true story of Oakland Athletics manager Billy Beane, has been something of a passion project for Brad Pitt, who stars as well as produces.
The film is based on the non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, which was adapted for the screen by Steve Zaillain and Aaron Sorkin. We recently caught up with Brad Pitt to discuss the evolution of his career, and took the opportunity to grill him about the new movie.
On whether or not the baseball movie would be able to find an audience outside of the States, Pitt told us, “I knew, really, very little about baseball, besides taking one in the face when I was in junior high.
“And I didn’t spend a lot of time watching the sport. But I became obsessed with this book that was about these guys questioning a system and going up against a system and what that took.
“You have to understand, this was a team with a $40m dollar payroll, and they’re trying to compete with teams with $240m dollar payrolls. And it’s an unfair game. That’s the title of the book, How To Win An Unfair Game.”
So, is it a universal ‘triumph of the underdog’ tale, then? “These guys said, “We can’t fight the other guys’ fight. We have to question everything. We’ve got to search for new knowledge. We’ve got to reexamine the sport and where we place value.”
“In that process, they found great inefficiencies in how people were judged for merit. And they were able to exploit that and put together a formidable team and I think that ultimately the film is about that. It is about value and how we place value on people.
“What’s a winner, what’s a loser? These themes are universal.”
When we asked if there were any parallels to be drawn with the movie business, and the studios wielding all the power, Pitt responded, “You know, it’s a cynical business.
“I think there are great things happening right now. I think the invention of the digital camera has opened up new avenues for people who didn’t have opportunities before.
“For me, it just makes me question my own beliefs. I look for my own bias, and I’m going to leave it at that.”
When we asked him to expand on that, he said, “Well, again it comes down to value – if I’m going to invest time into something, what I can bring to it?
“For me, on the producer’s end, it’s just been more about getting stories out that may have a difficult time seeing the light of day.”
Moneyball opens on 25 November 2011.
For more from Brad Pitt, get the new issue of Total Film Magazine, out Thursday 29 September!
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Could Brad Pitt convince you to go and see a baseball movie? Or would you rather see him wielding a cricket bat? You know where to comment…