bennett_miller_moneyball

How many runs through a script can a studio take? Moneyball is supposed to shoot in a little over a month, after a year of wrangling and being on life support. Now Steve Zaillian, who wrote the draft that got the scrapped Steven Soderbergh version moving in the first place, is back on the picture. For the time being.

Deadline says that, while Sony is very happy with the work that Aaron Sorkin did after Soderbergh left the picture and took his last draft with him, current director Bennett Miller wants to reinstate three scenes from the Zaillian draft. So Zaillian has been brought back in to work those parts back into the Sorkin draft. After that, Sorkin will go back and do a final polish.

This leaves all sorts of questions, chief among which is: what the hell is really going on? How often do you hear about a previous script draft being mined for a few scenes, especially when going back to that draft means paying more money to someone as expensive as Zaillian? It does happen, but not often, and the results (Robin Hood) can be dire. So that part of the story sounds hinky. As does the idea that Sorkin would then come back on to polish after he’s turned in several drafts that are then being augmented by Zaillian material. Weird stuff — if the story of the making of this movie is far more interesting than the final film itself, I won’t be vaguely surprised.

And the other things: Sony must have spent an amazing amount on this script already, as neither Zaillian nor Sorkin comes even vaguely cheap, and with the other development costs it’s difficult to imagine there’s any chance the movie will make money. And then there’s the MLB question — to what extent does the organization have oversight or approval rights for this script? Or is that not even an issue at this point?

The other note in Deadline’s piece is that Zaillian has turned in his draft of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, so we can probably expect to hear some realistic casting news starting to percolate soon. This follows on Anne Thompson‘s recent report that the script was due on June 1 so that Brad Pitt could read it and make a decision about playing “muckraking journalist Mikael Blomkvist.” Still no word on who’ll play “hacker/sleuth” Lisbeth Salander, the key female lead.

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