Steven Soderbergh is is very early talks to direct Brad Pitt in

Columbia Pictures’ Moneyball, based on the book by Michael Lewis about Oakland

A’s general manager Billy Beane. He’d replace David Frankel (Marley & Me) who was

on the project for more than two years. Sources tell that Pitt parted ways

with Frankel after he screened Marley & Me on the Sony lot and met with the

director during the week of the Golden Globes. Producers of Moneyball are still refining the latest

script rewrite from Steve Zaillian. They hope to begin production sometime

during the baseball season, most likely June.

Meanwhile, Frankel is trying to negotiate a

deal with Fox 2000 for The Big Year, which the studio is trying to buy now that

Paramount has let it go. That project is about a group of birdwatchers and has

been a passion project of Frankel’s for years. Ben Stiller’s Red Hour

Productions will produce.