Despite the fact that it was about to start production on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona, Columbia Pictures has halted work on Steven Soderbergh's upcoming major league baseball project Moneyball. The film, which was to star Brad Pitt, has been placed into "limited turnaround" by Columbia Picture's Amy Pascal. According to Variety, this gives Soderbergh a chance to set up the project at another studio. It is currently being shopped to both Warner Brothers and Paramount.
The decision to halt work on Moneyball came after Pascal read the final draft of the screenplay, written by Steve Zaillian with Soderbergh, and found it to be quite different than the original film she once championed. If another studio does not pick up the film by Monday, Columbia Pictures will look at replacing Soderbergh as the director. This could delay filming for quite sometime to come.
Moneyball is based on Michael Lewis' bestseller of the same name, with Pitt signed on to play Billy Beane, the former Major League phenom that undermined his playing career by taking a big paycheck before he was ready. The player resurfaced as Oakland A's general manager and found success fielding competitive teams for low cost, compared to the payrolls of league rivals like the New York Yankees. Soderbergh was set to use real ballplayers as actors. He also shot interviews with ballplayers for vignettes that were to be woven into the film.
Moneyball's fate will be decided on Monday.