Soderbergh out as director; Pitt still attached

Sony is still game on making the baseball pic “Moneyball,” tapping Aaron Sorkin to polish an early script by Steve Zaillian.

Scott Rudin has also stepped up to the plate to co-produce the Columbia Pictures drama, a move that should help keep Brad Pitt attached as its star after Steven Soderbergh walked last month as the pic’s director.

Project is an adaptation of Michael Lewis’ nonfiction bestseller “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” and is quickly reteaming the same creatives behind “The Social Network,” which revolves around the formation of Facebook.

Rudin and Michael DeLuca, based on the Sony lot, recently set up that pic, penned by Sorkin at the studio for David Fincher to helm.

Sony was set to start production on “Moneyball” last month in Phoenix, but studio topper Amy Pascal wound up pulling the plug on the pic just days before lensing was to begin when Soderbergh turned in a new version of the script the studio didn’t want to make.

Pic was put into limited turnaround at the time, giving other studios the chance to pick it up.

But Sony is keeping hold of the project, and Sorkin’s changes will be more in line with the version the studio favored all along, with the focus on Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, who assembled a contending baseball club on a shoestring budget by employing a sophisticated computer-based analysis to draft players.

Soderbergh’s draft and production plans took a more documentary approach that the studio felt wouldn’t cross over commercially with moviegoers.

Sorkin is expected to be completed with his revamp by August.

“Moneyball” fits in well with Sorkin’s previous experience as the creator and writer of ABC’s drama “Sports Night.”

Sony initially optioned Lewis’ book in 2004. Stan Chervin penned the initial draft of the script.

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