So Steven Soderbergh's "Moneyball" was all but basically pronounced dead yesterday and we all sadly moved on. Or rather if you want to be specific, it was announced that Soderbergh was officially off the project and if "Moneyball," were ever to be made, it would be with Sony, Brad Pitt, Steve Zaillian's draft (or some version by him) and some other director (and presumably that other kid too). No offense to Zaillian, we loved his original draft, but until someone like Soderbergh becomes attached, we're less interested (and Pitt may have even moved on too, see below).
Anyhow, after reading that L.A. Times article and this one particular graph we got to thinking.
Mr. Pitt’s representatives had an eye out for his next picture. Mr. Soderbergh’s were looking for ways to assure that his valuable, if somewhat eccentric, career, would not be harmed by the debacle."Moneyball," was a bit of a fiasco. A sizable budget, an A-list star, an (too?) adventurous director and a studio that got cold feet. Or if reports are to be believed, a studio that shied away because Soderbergh's new draft was too different from what they had green lit (though have read both versions, we can confirm that yes, this is essentially true, though again, not as radically different as some had suggested). But basically Sony and Amy Pascal threw Soderbergh under the bus here. If anyone took some bad P.R from this in the end aside from Sony it was probably Soderbergh as alluded to above.
So we thought, and we hate to even think this aloud, wondering the possibility if other studio heads are thinking the same: if a baseball movie with Brad Pitt, rewritten by Soderbergh is too risky, does this mean a musical rock opera adaptation of "Cleopatra" ("Cleo") starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and featuring the music of booze-sozzled indie rockers Guided By Voices, is essentially career suicide?
Don't get it twisted. We're huge Soderbergh fans and want to see, "Cleo" more than 3/4 of the projects scheduled for 2010 and 2011. It sounds insanely ambitious. It sounds creative, it sounds adventurous, it sounds bold, it sounds... exactly like everything Hollywood is intimately afraid of at the moment.
By saying this aloud, we're not really helping we get it. But, we have to say, we're really worried about "Cleo" now. Regardless if the "Moneyball" situation wouldn't have been so ugly. If it had quietly died, would this fearful studio climate have greenlit a project like "Cleo"? Even "Liberace" with Michael Douglas and Brad Pitt, isn't exactly "Brokeback Mountain" or "Milk" and feels like a far riskier project than both.
Maybe "The Informant" (which just had its trailer released, and now has a new poster) and its success or failure will inform, what comes next? We don't want to be doomsayers or cast any aspersions on "Cleo," or "Liberace," they both sound like fascinating projects, especially when helmed by such an unconventional filmmaker like Soderbergh, but we're a tiny bit worried that this climate might be a little too hostile.
What you should do in case you're worried, is buy a ticket to this Matt Damon film when it hits on hits theaters October 9th. It looks like a great, odd and goofy mix of the Coen Brothers meets the wacky comedy of the "Ocean's" films, and if it does half decent, maybe we'll all be able to breathe a sigh of relief. But seriously, go "Cleo," go Soderbergh, FTW.