ScriptShadow’s Carson Reeves has read Steven Soderergh‘s 6.22.09 draft of Moneyball — i.e., the one that freaked out Sony chief Amy Pascal and prompted a shutdown last weekend. Having also read Steven Zallian‘s December 2008 draft, Reeves pretty much agrees with Pascal and her Sony team that Soderbergh’s draft more or less messed up a good thing and that their decision to deep-six his film was correct.
“The biggest faux-pas is the handling of the all-important ‘on-base percentage’ stat,” Reeves writes. “This is what the Oakland A’s figured out that no one else did — the hidden statistic which is the key to their success. It’s what allows them to compete with half the salary of all the other teams. This is the movie. Yet here it’s treated like an afterthought.
“In fact, I couldn’t even tell you what the A’s secret to success was in Soderbergh’s draft. It’s implied that there’s a spreadsheet involved but the explanation stops there. A spreadsheet of never-explained numbers? That‘s how the team wins? That’s your hook for the movie?
“Look, Soderbergh is the kind of director who likes to find his movies in the editing room. Shoot a bunch of stuff, see what sticks. If something doesn’t connect logically, throw some voiceover in there and add a little score. That seems to be his plan of attack with Moneyball. I don’t know what the final movie would look like so I couldn’t definitively tell you if he would of salvaged this, but I do know he turned a solid script into an incomprehensible mess. And that’s why his movie was shut down.”
(Thanks to The Playlist‘s Rodrigo Perez for commenting on and passing along the Reeves’ piece.]