By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 22, 2009 at 6:40AM
It was a bad week for Steven Soderbergh and his $57-million screen version of Michael Lewis's baseball book Moneyball, which Sony shut down as of Friday--with a Monday start-of-production date. (How odd that "producer" Michael DeLuca was on his honeymoon last week and still has not returned. Soderbergh's producer Greg Jacobs was in charge, clearly.) The problem with the Sony spin over the weekend is that it doesn't make sense for Sony chief Amy Pascal to be suddenly discovering that she didn't like a script that had been in circulation--and active pre-production for weeks. Soderbergh was open about his documentary-like approach, and had obtained Major League Baseball cooperation.
So the Brad Pitt theory-- that he got cold feet (not for the first time) and used Pascal as his beard-- makes more sense. But that is not what I'm hearing from Pitt's camp. They say he was ready to make Soderbergh's movie. It's hard to imagine Pitt agreeing to make the movie with another director at this point. It would have to be Soderbergh or no one. Pascal was demanding certain changes that Pitt and Soderbergh refused to make and threw her foot down, perfectly willing to walk away. Point is, she would have made the movie a year ago. She can't afford for this movie to lose money right now, bottom line.
Soderbergh had the weekend to line up another studio, but his bad luck was that Paramount was in disarray. And Warners passed. Either he makes some kind of rapprochement with Sony or the project's dead. Here's Michael Fleming. UPDATE: And the LAT.
[Graphic courtesy The Playlist]