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Al Pacino to Star as Joe Paterno in HBO Movie

by on June 05, 2017 3:24 PM

Al Pacino will star as late Penn State coach Joe Paterno in an HBO movie about the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Pacino was announced in late 2012 to star as Paterno in a film based on the Joe Posnanski biography "Paterno," but in late 2014 HBO announced it was suspending the project because of budget issues.

On Monday, multiple outlets reported that HBO had given the green light to a new film starring Pacino as Paterno and with Barry Levinson attached to direct.

Variety reported that the official logline for the film reads, “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.”

Screenwriter David McKenna told and Onward State in interviews in 2013 that the film he was working on wasn't entirely focused on the Sandusky scandal. Brian DePalma was attached to direct at the time, and John Carroll Lynch, who had major roles in "Fargo" and "Zodiac," among other films, was reportedly set to play Sandusky.

McKenna, who has penned scripts for films including "American History X," is one of three reported screenwriters on the untitled project reported on Monday, along with Debora Cahn ("Grey's Anatomy," "The West Wing") and John C. Richards ("Sahara, Nurse Betty"). 

In addition to directing, Levinson will executive produce, along with Jason Sosnoff, Tom Fontana, Lindsay Sloane, Edward R. Pressman and Rick Nicita. Pressman and Nicita were executive producers on the original project announced in 2012. HBO will produce the film in association with Sony Pictures Television.

No other actors or a production timeline were reported on Monday.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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