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Art Howe is angry about how he was portrayed in “Moneyball”

Sep 27, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

art howe and billy beane

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.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Hey, at least he got the one Oscar winner in the movie to play him.

  2. trigzter - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Come on man. As soon as he makes the call to pinch hit Hatteberg I no longer disliked him.

  3. sdelmonte - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    So why didn’t he get the choice to opt out when DePodesta did?

  4. clydeserra - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I don’t read you piece about depodesta the same way you write about it here.

  5. kiwicricket - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    If I had Philip Seymour Hoffman portray my likeness, I would be a little upset too.

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      He’s certainly a dumpy-looking guy, but he’s a brilliant actor.

  6. neelymessier - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Philip Seymour Hoffman is a tremendous actor. However, the movie is not a character study of Art Howe. Those who wrote the screenplay chose to portray Mr. Howe as the “villain” for dramatic purposes. Hoffman is just doing what his employers paid him to do.

  7. memphisyinzer - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Admittedly, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I grew up with Art Howe and can attest for his character. He comes from a family of very good people. His parents and siblings were all of the same personality. I’ve never known him to be anything but a classie guy.

    I had an opportunity to meet with him a couple of years ago and nothing had changed…..still a laid back, friendly person.

    I don’t see how anyone could portray him as a villian and I don’t know why they would want to do so. It’s plain to see in the book that Beane didn’t care for Art and maybe his influence on the making of the movie was to take one last shot at Art.

  8. Tick - Sep 27, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Maybe instead of using dramatic licence to paint him as a villain, they could have just stuck to the facts and portrayed him as a lousy manager.

  9. franzcars - Sep 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    My uncle was portrayed as a loud mouth partier in the movie “The Game of their Lives.” Nothing could have been farther from the truth. My aunt (his widow) went up to the director at the premier and yelled at him!

  10. razedeyebrow - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Rut roh. I smell a lawsuit.

  11. aaronmoreno - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Wait, you mean the Facebook guy isn’t really a huge jerk?

  12. harmonylorelielee - May 14, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    I just have one big question, if Howe wasn’t like the movie character, why did the A’s lose so much in the beginning of the ’02 season? Did he follow the plan Beane was trying? Were there disputes about players?

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