Al Pacino Will Play Joe Paterno In HBO Jerry Sandusky Movie, And Somehow It Makes Perfect Sense

  • Rick Chandler


We’ve seen the unhinged Al Pacino (Dog Day Afternoon), the cold, calculating one (The Godfather), and even the blind (Scent of a Woman) and the tragically righteous (Serpico). About the only color in the spectrum that he hasn’t attempted is clueless Pacino — and now he’ll get a crack a that as well.

Our man Al has already been a football coach in Any Given Sunday, where he delivered one of my favorite lines: “One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game every minute, every second.” But here’s a much difference challenge. Sports Illustrated:

HBO has green lit and will move forward with a new movie on the Penn State football scandal with Al Pacino playing former head coach Joe Paterno, according to Variety.

Barry Levinson will direct the film.

“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims,” the film’s log line states.

Paterno pleaded ignorance of the entire Sandusky controversy, at one point claiming that he didn’t even know that such molestation was possible. It seems incredible that anyone — even someone as enveloped in football as Paterno — could live in that much of a bubble.

And it’s still a huge controversy among Paterno’s supporters. Former Penn State running back Franco Harris, for instance, still maintains the coach’s innocence — even though the evidence is pretty overwhelming that Paterno at some point knew what Sandusky was doing, and chose to pass the buck.

The big thing that sticks out to me about that time was when Penn State announced that they were removing Paterno’s statue from campus — and people showed up to take pictures with it before it was too late. And many of those brought their children.

This will be the fourth Pacino project with HBO, among them biopics on Phil Specter and Jack Kevorkian.