Bill James gets animated

This is getting pretty funny. I, like most, was a bit skeptical when I first heard the Steven Soderbergh is planning to turn Michael Lewis’s Moneyball into a movie.

Unlike many, however, I’m actually sorta looking forward to it. Soderbergh is great, and I’m curious to see what he does with the thing.

But the more I hear about it, the more weirdly intrigued I am.

Brad Pitt as Billy Beane? A bit of a stretch, sure, but I can see it — and I suppose one needs a few watts of star power if there’s gonna any hope of making concepts like OPB, Range Factor, and Jeremy Brown’s body type sing on the screen.

Demetri Martin as Paul DePodesta??? Gotta say, that that one (so to speak) is completely out of left field. But Demetri’s a smart guy. And I suppose he knows about things like Games, Timing, and Power.

But today comes the best news yet.

Who plays Bill James?

“My current plan is to animate him,” Soderbergh tells MTV News.

“We have this sort of oracle character that appears throughout and declaims various issues and he’s essentially supposed to be Bill James. He’s your host in a way…. The background will be real but the person who is supposed to be him will be animated.”

“It needs a gimmick,” Soderberg explains. “It needs something to make it not Masterpiece Theatre. His writer voice is so big, I thought to literalize it is going to actually harm it. I need to make his voice funny and when he comes on you’re happy to see it.”

OK. Officially count me in for this.

In the mean time, if Soderbergh hasn’t found a model for his Bill James cartoon, he could do a lot worse than the drawing (above) by Phoenix illustrator Paul Hoppe, which accompanies my interview with James last year.

And oh yeah: if you haven’t signed up for billjamesonline yet, you should do so. Three bucks a month. Can’t be beat.


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