Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino is set to star as former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in a new HBO movie about Jerry Sandusky sex scandal. The summary 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 about institutional failure on behalf of the victims”, reported Variety.
Pacino has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and won the Best Actor Award in 1993 for Scent of A Woman. He won an Emmy Award for You Don’t Know Jack in 2010, also an HBO project. As per reports, Barry Levinson will direct, while Debora Cahn, John C Richards and David McKenna will write the screenplay for the untitled film. Levinson has also won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1989 for Rain Man.
Paterno, often referred to as JoePa, is widely regarded as one of the best college football coaches of all time. However, his career came to a sudden halt in 2011 when his assistant coach Sandusky’s crimes came to light, with a 2012 report concluding that Paterno and other Penn State officials were aware of Sandusky’s actions but chose to stay mum. Sandusky served as an assistant coach for his entire career, mostly at Pennsylvania State University under Paterno, from 1969 to 1999. In 2011, he was arrested and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse.
This film will mark Pacino’s latest in a string of HBO projects, along with the Jack Kevorkian biopic You Don’t Know Jack, Phil Spector, which followed the murder trial of the music business legend, and the mini-series Angels in America.