“I just could never get comfortable with the idea of somebody else portraying me to the rest of the world,” Billy Beane’s former assistant, Paul DePodesta (above) tells the Wall St. Journal’s Brian Costa, explain how his name managed to morph into “Peter Brand” in the upcoming “Moneyball” motion picture. Though DePodesta denies any problem with being loosely portrayed by comic actor Jonah Hill, we’ve yet to hear from Jeremy Brown on the matter of being played by George Wendt.
DePodesta’s unease with the movie isn’t a matter of shyness, though. And has nothing to do with Hill. Though the dough-faced actor looks nothing like him, DePodesta said Hill is “terrific” at his craft.
What makes DePodesta uncomfortable is the idea of being typecast as a laptop-toting, Ivy League nerd who eschews traditional scouting and relies only on statistics in making decisions.
While the “Moneyball” book, written by Michael Lewis, portrays him as highly intelligent, DePodesta said it also created somewhat of a caricature. And he feared the movie would do so to an even greater degree by playing up the ideological divide between him and the scouts.
DePodesta met, at different times, with both Hill and Demetri Martin, the actor who was initially slated to play him. There were various incarnations of the script, but he said he was always concerned about how he would be portrayed. Shortly before the film began shooting last year, he asked the filmmakers to remove his name from it, and they agreed.
“I think for Jonah, actually, it was even a little uncomfortable, because as he told me, it was his first time having to play a real person,” DePodesta said. Making the character fictional “gave him a little more freedom to do his job.”