"Nobody wanted to buy disgraced goods," Pitt told The Hollywood Reporter in a wide-ranging cover story. "It was dead."
Except for the dead part. Pitt kept the project afloat by calling Sony president Amy Pascal, went out and found director Bennett Miller ("The fact he had such an investment in the material -- which was apparent in our first meeting -- was a big green light for me," Pitt said), and the rest is Oscar history: "Moneyball" earned six Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Pitt.
"There would be no 'Moneyball' without him," said producer Scott Rudin. "He saved it single-handedly, and he deserves the credit for its existing at all."
Pitt's interview with THR is a good one, and includes tales of his down period in the mid-90s. "I got really sick of myself at the end of the 1990s: I was hiding out from the celebrity thing; I was smoking way too much dope; I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut; and I really got irritated with myself. I got to: 'What's the point? I know better than this.'"