with Jonah Hill of “Moneyball”
, September 15, 2011
: What was it like working with Brad
was amazing. Look, you get a part
like this, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an actor to star alongside
this icon, as well as the other great people in this film, and it was like a
dream. It was also intimidating.
I only knew him as one of the most iconic film stars in the world.
But we wound up really enjoying each other.
I admire him. I think
there’s not an ounce of pretense or anything other than true intelligence.
He’s a real gentleman, and he’s funny to be around, and he also
gave me some advice which was really helpful.
I’m incredibly humbled by the whole experience.
: What was your favorite scene with
one where we’re doing that trading over the phone, and he has to make the
decision to really do something bold and out of the ordinary, and really act
on his convictions. And for my
character, it wasn’t so much about the players or baseball but just the
joy that his ideas were being put into practice.
It felt like the first time I was on a movie set and somebody said,
“What are your ideas? What do you
think? Let’s shoot one of your
ideas.” And I’m like, “What?
We’re going to shoot something that came from my brain?”
So that’s how I played that scene, and it turned out fun to watch.
You know, that movie shouldn’t be entertaining, but it is.
You know? A scene about GMs
trading baseball players shouldn’t be that exciting, but it is.
“Moneyball” is a movie about baseball statistics.
And unless you’re a sportswriter or something, that sounds like a
very boring film. The truth is,
it’s moving, and intense, and funny, and sad, and honest.
I think what the filmmakers did is use baseball as a really beautiful
aesthetic backdrop to tell a really moving story about underdogs and value,
and specifically being undervalued. There’s
also a real “punk rock” kind of attitude about two guys saying the world
is round when everyone else says the world is flat.
Brad’s character is the bazooka, and my character is the
ammunition, and together we burst through a wall that was built 150 years
ago. It’s an exciting, motivating
story to be a part of. My character
is someone who is used to blending into the wall, and suddenly there’s a
light shining on him, and though he has some funny lines, he’s far more
moving than comedic. He’s empowered
for the first time in his life. And
that, to me, is beautiful and inspiring.
: How do you respond to the criticism
: …That neither the book nor the
movie addressed the elephant in the room at the time, which was the issue of
steroid usage in baseball. Especially
in relation to Giambi.
um…I’ve never once that about that. But
to me, I think baseball was a tool to tell the story.
Myself, I re-fell in love with the game while making this movie.
I played Little League as a kid, and collected baseball cards, and
went to games with my Dad, but had kind of moved away from interest in it
for a while, I was more a basketball fan. (By the way, your team did really
well this year. Congrats.)
But shooting in the Oakland Coliseum makes you feel like a little kid
again. It’s why people are so fond
of baseball; it’s nostalgic from when you were young and carefree and just
hanging out with your friends and having a good time.
That feeling definitely rushed back to me.
And when I watch the movie, every time it rushes back to me.
How could you not be romantic about baseball?
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St.Stephens Presbyterian Church,