'Moneyball' movie benched by studio

'Moneyball' movie benched by studio

"Moneyball," the Steven Soderbergh film based on Michael Lewis' book on Oakland general manager Billy Beane, has been benched by Columbia Pictures.

Industry magazine Variety reported that the studio pulled the plug on the production, which was scheduled to begin Monday in Phoenix, based on displeasure with Soderbergh's rewrite of Steven Zaillian's original script.

Brad Pitt was to star as Beane in the project, which was also set to include numerous current and former Major Leaguers appearing as themselves.

Columbia Pictures studio head Amy Pascal officially delegated the film into "limited turnaround" status, which gives Soderbergh the chance to find another backing studio. Warner Bros. and Paramount are considered top prospects.

If a new financier doesn't emerge by the end of Monday, Variety reported, Columbia will consider options that include replacing Soderbergh, delaying the film until Pascal and the filmmaker find themselves in synch on the script or pulling the plug altogether.

Besides casting such ballplayers as David Justice and Scott Hatteberg, clips of interviews with Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson and Darryl Strawberry -- teammates of Beane's with the Mets -- were to be used in "Moneyball."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.