Within my “Moneyball” review I noted that the Art Howe character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman “is given by far the most thankless role of the movie, essentially serving as the villain to Billy Beane’s hero” and “it’s hard to imagine the actual Howe being as stubborn and difficult as Hoffman’s version.”
The actual Art Howe apparently agreed, saying during a SiriusXM radio interview that he was “very disappointed” with his portrayal in the movie and views it as “character assassination.”
Paul DePodesta asked that the movie not use his real name because he was unhappy with the character based on him, but Howe was never consulted and the former A’s manager didn’t get a chance to do the same. “It wasn’t even close to my personality,” Howe said. “They just went out of their way to degrade me.”
Ultimately plenty of movies “based on a true story” include unfavorable, unrealistic portrayals of actual people, so Howe’s situation isn’t a unique one. However, he’s absolutely right that “Art Howe” in “Moneyball” is both nothing like the real person and intentionally set up to be an unlikeable villain who provides ongoing conflict for the main character/hero. I’d be mad too.