Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game: According to Variety, Sony Pictures has acquired the Michael Lewis bestseller "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game".

Book is based on the life of Billy Beane, the Oakland A's general manager who has assembled a contending ballclub despite having a payroll much lower than other teams.

Stan Chervin has been hired to write the script.

"Sports movies make great metaphors about life, and Billy Beane's success is a great underdog story," Michael De Luca said.

That Beane became a success in baseball wasn't unexpected -- the surprise was that he didn't make it on the field. A first-round draft choice by the New York Mets, Beane was a touted outfielder who didn't pan out.

"I sobered up pretty quickly, right when they started throwing sliders down and away, and I couldn't hit them," he said. "But I had never seen playing baseball as the end goal. I always thought that building a team was more interesting than being part of one."

Beane seemed a bit bashful at the prospect of becoming a matinee idol, probably because his canonization as a world class dealmaker by Lewis has made other teams wary of trading with him, for fear they'll look like suckers.

"It's frustrating that so many people didn't realize that this was Michael's book and not something we solicited," Beane said. Horovitz, who will produce through her Specialty Films shingle, reteams with De Luca after they worked together as New Line execs on such projects as "About Schmidt."

Brian B.