Al Pacino to Star as Joe Paterno in Brian De Palma’s Upcoming Biopic

When I think of all of the stories that need to be put on the big screen, obviously, naturally, the first one to come to mind is that Penn State child-rape football scandal. Think about it! The gltiz, the glamour, the drama! And all of it directed by Brian De Palma, someone know for his incredibly somber, subtle films like Carrie, Sisters, and Snake Eyes. And who else to play Joe Paterno but living legend Al Pacino? What could possibly go wrong here?

DePalma will be reuniting with his own Scarface actor for a film tentatively titled Happy Valley based on a biography of the Penn State football coach by Joe Posnanski. The film will focus on Paterno’s "Shakespearian fall from grace" following the Penn State rape scandal. Deadline reveals why it looks to be a heavy-hitting film:

There are so many themes to deal with here, from Paterno’s rise and his loyalty to a football program he spent his life building, to the obvious question of how a molder of young men could possibly have stood silently by when told that one of his former coaches started a charity for underprivileged kids and used it as a way to ingratiate himself into vulnerable young fatherless boys for sexual encounters,? The failure of Paterno and university officials to act allowed Sandusky to continue molesting boys for years, which was borne out in court testimony leading to his conviction and incarceration. Posnanski was working on a book about Paterno and was well into it when the scandal broke. The book is as much about what made Paterno tick as anything else, and capturing complex characters is something Pacino does well. He played a conflicted pro football coach in Any Given Sunday, and Jack Kevorkian in the HBO film You Don’t Know Jack.

I just hope it ends with Paterno snorting a massive amount of cocaine. Go out with a bang, not a whimper: that’s the Brian De Palma way. 

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