Jonah Hill Replaces Demetri Martin In 'Moneyball'

There's some strange news from an unusual source this morning. Remember "Moneyball"? Last summer, a Steven Soderbergh/Brad Pitt collaboration fell apart when Sony halted the work they'd done on bringing Michael Lewis's book about baseball's Oakland A's and their GM Billy Beane to the big screen. Soderbergh stepped away from the project, but Pitt kept cheerleading, and the whole thing landed in the hands of "Capote" director Bennett Miller.

Pitt is apparently still set to play Beane, even after the tumultuous production changes. And the script that was first penned by "American Gangster" scribe Steve Zaillian is now being credited to Aaron Sorkin. The news today comes from an unlikely source. The book's author Lewis, speaking to ESPN's Rob Neyer (via JoBlo), revealed that none other than Jonah Hill will be joining the cast as well.

Hill steps in to replace "Taking Woodstock" star Demetri Martin, who had been set to play Paul DePodesta, an assistant to Beane who helped implement "sabermetrics," which is a focus of the story. Apologies to you baseball-loving readers: I am not the best person to describe this concept for the layperson. Please share your own explanations in the comments below.

The odd thing about the casting is that the real-life DePodesta is a Harvard graduate and former football player. While it might not end up being a tremendous stretch for Hill's acting abilities, it's a hard role to picture him in given the past roles he's taken. Then again, perhaps it's time that the "Superbad" star spread his wings a bit and tried something new. This "Moneyball" role definitely qualifies.

If Neyer's report is accurate, the movie is set to start shooting in June. We'll know soon enough if this is a good fit for Hill, not to mention who else will be filling out the cast.

Would anyone care to explain in simple terms for your fellow readers the significance of "sabermetrics" and why it's an important component of this story? What do you think of the Hill casting?