For Michael Lewis, the book will always be better than the film, especially when the former is his.
Lewis, author of best sellers such as "Liar's Poker," "The Blind Side" and "Moneyball," called the movie industry "flaky" and the process of book to silver screen "distortive."
Also a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine, Lewis said that the writer's insights are not openly welcomed on the movie's set.
"Nobody cares about the author," Lewis said. "They'd rather you be dead, but you're inconveniently alive."
Lewis made these comments last September to a group of students at Cal last September while shooting on "Moneyball," the Oakland A's inspired film was still wrapping up.
"Moneyball" hits theaters nationwide on Friday. The official U.S. premiere is tonight in Oakland. Lewis said he would be in attendance as the stars walk the red carpet, despite his qualms with the film-making process.
"If you didn't go, that would be a statement," he said. "Just don't make a stink."
Lewis, who lives in nearby Berkeley, clarified by email last week that he has already seen the film and that "it's great." However, he previously warned that good books are made into bad movies all the time.
"You can make anything a movie," he said, "but it doesn't mean it will be good. I don't feel possessive about it. You bought it, do what you want with it. I'm just thankful for all of the books it's selling."
The first movie based on one of Lewis' books, 2009's "The Blind Side," chronicling Ravens left tackle Michael Oher and his improbable rise from high school poverty to success at Ole Miss, experienced strong commercial success. The film raked in more than $250 million at the box office domestically, and Sandra Bullock won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Brad Pitt, the star of "Moneyball" as A's GM Billy Beane, has already purchased the film rights to Lewis' most recent best seller, "The Big Short," about the bursting of the American housing bubble.
Other tidbits Lewis dropped during the discussion last September included being on hand with his wife and two daughters, with about 3,000 extras in the stands, for some of the shooting of "Moneyball" at Oakland Coliseum while the A's were away on an extended road trip.
When the crew could not film at the Coliseum, Lewis said they shot on a set in Los Angeles where a striking reproduction of the interior of the stadium shared by the A's and Oakland Raiders had been built. He also said he was a little creeped out by the star resemblance between the actor who played Barry Zito and the real thing.
Lewis said he will eventually begin work on a follow-up to the original "Moneyball," to analyze how Beane's Sabermetric approach to drafting players in 2002 turned out.
In the meanwhile, fans of his books can pick up his newest one, "Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World," about how the United States' financial crisis has impacted various European economies, which will be released on Oct. 3.
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