'Moneyball': Billy Beane Talks Brad Pitt, 'Surreal' Movie Experience At Toronto Premiere
With a line bursting with stargazers snaking all the way around a massive public square, the Toronto International Film Fest premiere of "Moneyball" was a raucous scene that turned into a kind of makeshift victory parade for Brad Pitt, the baseball film's magnetic leading man. That the film celebrates a true story -- and features Pitt playing an actual person -- seemed to have been forgotten for the moment, such was the euphoria of the crowd's feting of the actor.
So, in slipped Billy Beane, the trailblazing Oakland Athletics general manager whom Pitt portrays in the film, virtually unnoticed ahead of the "Moneyball" cast. Luckily, HuffPost was able to flag him down to talk about the movie, his experience during its production and what he thought about Pitt's portrayal.
(To read quotes from the film's press conference earlier in the day, click here).
HuffPost: Have you seen the film yet? What did you think?
Beane: It was good. I got used to it after a while. It was surreal. I was a little desensitized after the third of fourth showing. It's good.
HuffPost: How was the experience of making the film?
Beane: They were really respectful the whole time, because I said at the beginning, I have a day job. And they were very very, not only respectful, but they handled everything in a first class way, starting with Sony to Bennett to Brad to the producers, Mike DeLuca and Rachel Horovitz, and so, at the end of the day, it was relatively painless.
HuffPost: When the first try at the film collapsed, did you think it was done? Or did you think it would come back?
Beane: You know, I did think it was. But a month after that -- Brad made it clear from the start that this was something he was really passionate about, which gave me a lot of confidence actually in ultimately what would end up happening, and so it became apparent, [even though] that they sort of shut down production a couple of years ago, they were going to get this made.
HuffPost: They delve into your past as a prospect and things like that; how did you feel about them analyzing your psyche?
Beane: You know, I've gotten used to it. It's part of the deal. I didn't realize -- well, I guess I'll wait for everyone to see -- but at the end of the day, I think I was pleased with the movie.
HuffPost: How do you think Brad did, playing you?
Beane: I haven't figured out quite how to answer that. Listen, it's incredibly flattering and I haven't come up with the right answer but the best thing to say is that he had his hands full from the beginning, so we'll see if he pulled it off.
HuffPost: Now, non-baseball fans are going to think of Brad Pitt as you, but then there's still you, running a baseball team.
Beane: Yeah, that was the hardest thing to sort of juggle, and at the beginning, that's why everyone was great. I said listen, I have a career and something that I'm currently doing and something I love doing. And they were once again, from Brad to Bennett to Sony, were very very respectful of that, and from that standpoint, it really wasn't a distraction. Our organization had a great time with it.
HuffPost: Once the book came out [in 2003] and you guys did really well, made the playoffs, obviously things changed around baseball. How do you think teams are going to react now to sabermetrics being glorified and that much more touted?
Beane: Yeah, you know, when the book came out, certainly there was a part of that, but as I said, ultimately that's part of the deal.
HuffPost: You're going to have to change your strategy again.
Beane: Yeah, I mean, there are some really smart people running baseball teams and they have a lot of resources. All you have to do is look a little bit to the east between the Yankees and Red Sox, there are some really smart guys with money and they're tough to compete with.