Category: News

Moneyball heads to Phoenix

Brad Pitt’s new baseball movie is hitting Phoenix in the next day or two for a couple of days of filming.

Pitt plays a baseball executive in the film “Moneyball,” an adaptation of a best-selling book.

So will Pitt be here for the filming? Probably, says the film’s publicist, Spooky Stevens.

“Yes, but it’s not written in stone,” she said.

Stevens wasn’t willing to say much about what’s happening here. She said the production doesn’t disclose locations and wants to slip in and out of town quietly to keep down crowds that might slow their work. She said most of the shooting will take place in Los Angeles but the first two days are in Phoenix.

“Moneyball” is an adaptation of the book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” It chronicles Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s major league baseball team. The book portrays him as obsessed with unusual statistics that help find overlooked players who produce contending teams with a cheap payroll. Read more.

Jolie Pitt Foundation supports Pakistan

They’re between film shoots, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have kept busy.

First, it was the creation of the Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center, named after Brad’s mother, in his hometown of Springfield, Mo. And Wednesday, in support of Jolie’s eight-year relationship with the UN Refugee Agency, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation gave $1 million to help displaced people in Pakistan, a country she has visited three times.

The head of the agency, António Guterres, thanked the foundation for its assistance, calling Pakistan’s plight “the most challenging humanitarian crisis of the past decade,” as more than 2 million people are currently displaced in the country. Read more.

Teen Choice Awards

TEEN CHOICE 2009 will celebrate the hottest teen icons in film, television, music, sports and fashion in the choicest, star-studded two-hour event airing Monday, Aug. 10 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Related nominations:

– Choice Movie Drama (Benjamin Button)
– Choice Movie Actor: Drama: Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button)
– Choice Celebrity Activist: Brad Pitt

Go cast your vote @ Teen Choice Awards. And I’ve a feeling he will be presenting an award, hopefully, maybe. Read more.

St. John’s Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center

It’s a big deal that’s about to get better for families in the Ozarks. On Saturday, St. John’s Hospital announced its children’s hospital will become a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital affiliate.

For families in the Ozarks, this means:
– As an affiliate, many treatments that are administered at St. Jude will be administered at St. John’s, meaning families won’t have to be away from home for weeks, months or years.
– For St. Jude patients treated at St. John’s, their family will not pay for any treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance will not have to pay.

For other pediatric cancer patients who are not St. Jude patients, the hospital will work with their family concerning payments, said Mike Peters, president of St. John’s Foundation for Community Health. “We provide a lot of charity care based on a family’s ability to pay,” Peters said.

Other major announcements Saturday:
– St. John’s Auxiliary has pledged $1 million, over the next four years, to help fund the children’s hospital and other projects.
– St. John’s is expanding its children’s hospital services and hiring the region’s first pediatric hematology/oncology physician.

To make this possible, the Brad Pitt family, Doug and Lisa Pitt and Rob and Julie Neal donated $1 million to establish an endowment fund from which cancer specialists will be paid. In honor of their mother, the center will be renamed St. John’s Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center.

When Mike Peters announced the new name Saturday at a dinner, Jane Pitt wiped away tears. Doug Pitt patted his mother on the arm before getting up to make a speech on his family’s behalf. Pitt referred to his mom as the “pretty one” in the back. “My mom is everything good,” Pitt said. Read more/video. Thanks Gabriella.

Brad Pitt Buys Big at Basel

Actor Brad Pitt briefly sent camera phones on fire earlier today at the Art Basel art fair in Basel, Switzerland, when he lingered before Neo Rauch’s rainbow-colored racetrack painting, “Etappe,” at the booth of New York dealer David Zwirner.

The 1998 painting depicts a swirling view of a driver behind a red, Formula One-style racecar, with workers nearby carrying candy-colored hoses.

After eyeing the 9-foot-wide work for several minutes, Pitt rubbed his goatee, fiddled with his tweed driving cap, and walked away. Zwirner, looking slightly anxious, said, “He’s on the fence. Nothing wrong with that, I guess.”

Pitt returned minutes later with Eli and Edy the Broad, the major Los Angeles collectors. Pitt and Broad conferred and then the group left.

Broad, hours later, says he gave the actor a friendly nudge. “I told him we had four Rauchs and if he didn’t buy it, we probably would.”

The peer pressure worked: Pitt soon after agreed to buy the oil on linen Rauch for just under $1 million, the gallery confirmed. Source. Thanks Gabriella.

• x01 Art Fair – Basel, Switzerland (06/09/09).

Jolie-Pitt Wheels

When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie left Namibia with their newborn baby three years ago, they left behind a legacy.

Today, in Ondangwa, their generosity will see 73 bicycles specially designed for rough terrain donated to school children.

After Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was born to much media attention on May 27 2006 in Swakopmund, her famous parents donated N500000 (R500000) to the Michelle McLean Children’s Trust.

The charity, run by the Namibian-born beauty since she won Miss Universe in 1992, managed 10 projects with the Jolie- Pitt donation. “The money was a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the first picture of Shiloh with her parents,” said McLean.

The bicycle handover is the second consignment of two- wheelers.

The Jolie-Pitt donation was also used to train pre-primary teachers to prepare children for grade 1, equipping children with financial skills, running a basic first-aid development programme for teachers and care- givers at pre-primary schools, and donating food and clothes to the San people in the Tsumeb region. Source. Thanks Gabriella.

‘Moneyball’ is circling all the bases

I have to admit that when Michael DeLuca called me earlier this year, saying he was finally going to get “Moneyball” made into a movie, I figured he must’ve been smoking the proverbial Hollywood crack pipe.

Anyone who loves baseball has read Michael Lewis’ bestseller about how Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane almost single-handedly upended the traditional way baseball evaluates athletic talent. Beane was a prized young baseball player who ended up being picked by the New York Mets in the 1980 major league draft. To the old scouts, Beane was considered a phenom because, well, he looked like a phenom. With his slim, muscular athletic physique, he ran, threw the ball and swung the bat the way great baseball players were supposed to.

But Beane was a bust. He ended up playing only 148 games in the majors, hitting a pathetic .219. So when Beane became a talent evaluator, eventually emerging as the general manager of the Oakland A’s, he spent far more time studying arcane statistics like on-base percentage than he did worrying about whether a prospect was tall or lean or chiseled. Beane’s shrewd wheeling and dealing and his embrace of the stats-driven science of sabermetrics helped the under-financed A’s become a perennial contender in the American League West. Read more. Thanks Intothegrinder. Moneyball is set to start shooting June 11th.