Watching sports films like The Bad News Bears and North Dallas Forty as a child helped Brad Pitt hit a homerun in the newest addition to the genre, Moneyball, says the actor.
Directed by Bennett Miller (Capote) the film based on Michael Lewis’ 2003 best-selling book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, about the resurgence of the Oakland A’s baseball team. The movie premiered on Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“As a kid, I loved (The) Bad News Bears; Ben and I talked a lot about that one. And I had loved (North) Dallas Forty with Nick Nolte; I think it was the first R-rated movie I snuck into, so it has a special place in my heart,” Pitt said.
In Moneyball, Pitt plays Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane who turns to a chubby young statistician (Jonah Hill) with a radical new system to evaluate players and rebuild his gutted team after losing key members of his squad.
The recruiting tool showed it was possible to put together a competitive team in the National Baseball League at a quarter of the cost.
Critics have widely praised Pitt’s performance. “[Sport movies] traditionally work on some level (because they’re about) winning, overcoming adversity. It’s something in our DNA, it’s why we love our sports heroes and our sports teams,” says the actor.
Director Bennett Miller opined that audiences are keen on baseball movies — the genre includes such greats as Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, Bang the Drum Slowly — because the sport itself mimics life experiences.
“There’s no clock in baseball,” he said. “It’s not over until the thing is over. It’s like life in that there are prolonged periods of boredom and monotony and punctuated by extreme excitement and sometimes terror.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2011.