When it was announced the bestselling book “Moneyball” would be adapted into a major motion picture, Mets front office staffer Paul DePodesta was beside himself with excitement until he learned a heavyset actor was playing his role.
“They got Tyler freakin’ Durden to play Billy [Beane],” said DePodesta, of the famed A’s GM who will be played by Brad Pitt. “My wife and I were on pins and needles waiting to see who would play me.”
When actor plump Jonah Hill’s name appeared on IMDB as playing DePodesta role, DePodesta immediately wrote it off as some kind of joke.
“Jonah Hill? Jonah Hill? Jonah the Whale maybe,” said the Harvard grad. “I was insulted. Have you seen that guy? It really put me in a dark place. I wanted blood!”
DePodesta immediately set out to have the casting changed. He hired a legal staff and sued Columbia Pictures for gross character defamation, but the case was thrown out before it got to court.
Downtrodden and embarrassed, the former Dodgers GM sought help from old friends he’d made in his years living near Hollywood.
One July night while leaving a Dodgers game in the fourth inning, Hill was attacked by four gang members. Instructed by DePodesta, they gave him the ultimatum to “lose 100 pounds or die.”
Hill took the threat to heart, and has since shed nearly half his body weight. Unfortunately for DePodesta, his involvement in the attack was sniffed out by the authorities, and his name was removed from the film.
“The guy’s a psycho,” said Hill at a recent press junket. “But despite the fact I never want to meet the man, he did save my life.”
Jonah Hill can be seen playing Peter Brand in “Moneyball,” this September. DePodesta can be seen on the golf course this October.