As noted in my review of “Moneyball” earlier this week Jonah Hill’s assistant general manager character is named “Peter Brand” because Paul DePodesta didn’t want his real name used in the movie.
DePodesta, who was the A’s assistant GM when Michael Lewis wrote the book and is now the Mets’ vice president of player development, talked to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal about why he didn’t want to be associated with the character:
I just could never get comfortable with the idea of somebody else portraying me to the rest of the world. It’s very unnerving, and it was something that wasn’t going to go away. That was always in my mind. … Like any movie, to make it interesting, there has to be some conflict there. In some respects, a lot of the conflict is going to revolve around my character, and that was never really the case in reality.
DePodesta met with Hill during production of the movie and praised his acting ability, telling Costa that playing the fictional “Peter Brand” character “gave him a little more freedom to do his job.”
In the movie Hill out-weighs the real DePodesta by at least 100 pounds and the character is unathletic, socially awkward, and inexperienced. In reality DePodesta played football and baseball at Harvard and got his job in the A’s front office only after working as a scout.
Or as DePodesta put it: “I think for me, it’s a lot easier to live with as long as everybody realizes it’s a movie. It’s not a documentary.”