Joining Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Columbia Pictures’ critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated film “Moneyball” are three promising actors who play unheralded baseball players turned sports heroes: Chris Pratt, Stephen Bishop and Casey Bond.
“Moneyball” is the true story of Billy Beane (Pitt), once a would-be baseball superstar who, stung by the failure to live up to expectations on the field, turned his fiercely competitive nature to managing a pro baseball team – the Oakland Athletics, or simply, Oakland A’s.
For casting for the players of the 2002 Oakland A’s, director Bennett Miller put the focus on his desire to capture stark, naturalistic baseball action. So he looked for the real thing, casting primarily experienced ball players who could act. Early on, the filmmakers enlisted Michael Fisher (“The Blind Side”) to serve as the film’s baseball coordinator, who set out to assemble, train and choreograph a cast who could authentically recreate the A’s ballgames down to the details.
“The casting process was pretty extensive,” recalls Fisher. “Close to 750 guys tried out for the movie. We knew the best way to make it as authentic as possible, would be to get the best guys out there.” Most of those cast previously played in the minor leagues. They include:
Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg, First Base, #10. Pratt, best known for his co-starring role as Andy Dwyer on the hit NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” plays the injured catcher who becomes Billy’s Beane’s seemingly craziest acquisition – and strongest confirmation of his theories. Not only does Beane surprise Scott Hatteberg with an offer to join the A’s, he stuns him with a bizarre request: to play first base – a position he’s never played before. Pratt came to the production as the only player on the team without any real baseball experience and trained extensively, just as Hatteberg had to do. “Billy and Peter see the potential that nobody else sees,” says producer Michael De Luca. “Chris is such a wonderfully humanistic actor, bringing both drama and humor – he makes you root for him and for the moneyball theory.”
Stephen Bishop as David Justice, Left Field, #23. Bishop is a film and television actor (“Friday Night Lights”) and a former minor league player in the Atlanta Braves farm system. While in the minors he formed a friendship with the man he plays in the film: former All-Star David Justice. “Justice,” Bishop says, “told me he couldn’t think of anybody he’d rather play the part than me. That gave me a lot of confidence and I hope I do him justice.”
Casey Bond as Chad Bradford, Pitcher, #53. Bond, a former college pitcher and outfielder, plays the A’s idiosyncratic relief pitcher who throws in a submariner, knuckle-scraping style. Bond, who was drafted into the minor leagues as a centerfielder for the San Francisco Giants, quit the game to become an actor, having landed a national commercial in Nashville, and subsequently moved to Los Angeles. Based on his resemblance to Chad Bradford and his ability to pitch with Bradford’s unique underhand style, he was cast in the role.
The real Billy Beane appreciated that the filmmakers aimed for authenticity. “They put a lot of detail into hiring guys who had a real background in playing, who look like athletes,” he says. “I thought Chris Pratt who plays Scott Hatteberg was fantastic. I was moved by how he had some of the same mannerisms, how he even walked a little bowlegged like Scott, and he did a great job of recreating his whole demeanor. Every time he did something, I’d say ‘Well, that’s what Scott used to do.’ It’s a very difficult thing to pull off, but as a guy who was in the game, I was impressed.”
Opening across the Philippines on March 7, “Moneyball” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit http://www.columbiapictures.com.ph for trailers, exclusive content and free downloads. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.