When Billy and Peter team up to put their theories of assembling a team into actual practice, their endeavor is, at first, vociferously opposed by the A’s field manager, Art Howe, the man traditionally charged with choosing the game line-up and guiding strategy on the field. Philip Seymour Hoffman, who earned an Oscar® for his portrayal of the legendary novelist in Bennett Miller’s Capote, approached Howe as a man so entwined in the baseball establishment he can’t yet see past it.
Billy Beane enjoyed watching Hoffman embody the role. “Philip has great presence and that’s one thing that Art had. He’s 6 foot 3, in tremendous physical condition and he had a real physical presence about him, and I thought Hoffman gave that off as well.”
Hoffman says it was the creative atmosphere on set that gave the relationships the frisson of reality. “Bennett led everybody with a really strong hand,” he says. “The rehearsals — with Brad, Jonah, Bennett and myself all in the room fleshing out these scenes – were very satisfying. And, at the same time, there was also this great sense of us challenging each other.”
“Phil is an old friend – we talk to each other often about what we’re doing,” says Miller. “Of course, we talked about Moneyball, but not as something to collaborate on, because he had a prior commitment. It turned out that his previous commitment got pushed and he asked me if I had I cast the role of Art Howe? I hadn’t, he said he’d like to do it, I said, Great. That was that. If he wants to do something, why would you say no?”
Robin Wright, a Golden Globe nominee for Forrest Gump, and soon to be seen in David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, took the role of Sharon, Beane’s ex-wife, who was with him when he appeared to be one of the hottest prospects in professional baseball. Now remarried, Sharon and Billy share custody of their daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey), who closely watches her father’s career.