Neyer: Q&A With ‘Moneyball’ Author Michael Lewis

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on September 26, 2011, with “Moneyball” author Michael Lewis:

Rob: You’ve been quoted in many places saying something like, “I never thought this book could be a movie.”

Your opinion was widely shared, from the moment plans for a movie were first made public. But in retrospect, why the skepticism? A good movie merely requires compelling characters, and you wouldn’t have written Moneyball in the first place unless you’d known that Billy Beane and the rest were compelling characters.

If nothing else, do you now have a greater appreciation for the abilities of skilled Hollywood types to turn a great story, no matter the subject matter, into a good movie?

Michael: My doubts arose both from the subject matter (the use and abuse of baseball statistics) and the way the story was told (it was far more the story of an idea than of a man). I thought the most emotionally loaded, and therefore the most movie-friendly, aspect of the story was the effect this idea had on the lives of players like Chad Bradford and Scott Hatteberg. And I didn’t think anyone would make a movie about Chad Bradford and Scott Hatteberg. I underestimated the ability of the moviemakers to turn the story of an idea into a compelling story of a man, and to make the man stand for the idea. There was a bit of this in the book, obviously, but they pushed it harder than I imagined it could be pushed, without falling down.

Read the full article here:

And Neyer’s must-read review of the “Moneyball” film can be found here:

Originally published: September 26, 2011. Last Updated: September 26, 2011.