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Al Pacino To Play Legendary/Disgraced Football Coach Joe Paterno

by Drew Taylor
September 8, 2012 10:00 AM
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According to an exclusive Deadline report, ICM Partners will start shopping around a project, starting next week, to which Al Pacino is attached to play late, controversial Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. The project is based on Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski's biography, "Paterno," which is currently sitting atop the New York Times Bestsellers List for the second week in a row. Paterno was once a golden god amongst college football. Then, of course, it was discovered that he had been involved in a complicated cover-up of sexual misdeeds by his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Paterno died after being fired but before the NCAA issued a heavy fine and sanctions against the school that included the removal of Paterno's wins going back to the time of the cover-up.

It's a long, sad, complicated story, and one that Posnanski happened upon – he had been writing the book for a solid year before the scandal broke. The project is being shopped as either a feature film or a cable movie, but we could see this thing becoming a miniseries by the time it's over (Sandusky, for his part, was found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse against young boys and will undoubtedly spend the rest of his life in jail).

For his part, Pacino has played both a football coach (in Oliver Stone's bombastic drama "Any Given Sunday") and a number of real-life figures, including New York Times reporter Lowell Bergman ("The Insider"), undercover cop Frank Serpico ("Serpico"), McCarthy attorney Roy Cohn ("Angels in America"), and Dr. Jack Kevorkian ("You Don't Know Jack"). And while he has certainly suffered a drop off in the quality of the roles he has chosen recently ("Jack and Jill" aside, of course), we have a feeling Pacino can knock this one out of the park.

Pacino's manager, Rick Nicita, will produce the project, which is expected to get snapped up very quickly.

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  • Daniel | September 8, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    Btw, rapes of young children are ........"sexual misdeeds " ?
    Exactly, how corrupt is Hollywood, and Indiewire, its blind champion, by extension? !
    The show must go on, at ALL costs, eh?

  • Zack | September 10, 2012 1:06 AM

    That's shitty phrasing, but it has less to do with Indiewire and more to do with our culture in general. Way, way too often the media refer to a scandal involving rape as a "sex scandal", as though rape is something people do when they get horny. That description is part of that trend.
    And incidentally, I don't get why making a movie about a bad person makes Hollywood "corrupt". Imagine how appalled you'll be when you find out people have made movies about the Nazis.

  • Zack | September 8, 2012 12:58 PMReply

    Damn, 5 comments and not a single joke about Jerry Sandusky saying "Say hello to my little friend."

  • Movie Geek | September 8, 2012 11:52 AMReply

    He actually spent time with Paterno as he was prepping 'Any Given Sunday'. I bet this goes to HBO. That network still hasn't aired Pacino's Phil Spector movie.

  • that guy | September 8, 2012 11:32 AMReply

    you're kidding right? poor Joe Pesci was made for a role

  • Duddi | September 8, 2012 10:32 AMReply

    Wow, great news... That's getting a hell of a positive buzz, let's wait and see what happens at the end of the year... when we have more good movies out, cuz thus far it has been a bit disappointing...

  • Duddi | September 8, 2012 10:23 AMReply

    Finally, a good news about Al, cuz he didn't really have anything special on his plate, but if this project is really happening, that would make it interesting... i mean come on, recently he was on The Son of No One, Jack and Jill which by all means sucked hard, and this other project that got recently wrapped up "Stand Up Guys" - i don't how it's going to work, no idea. Let's wait and see who's going to direct it .

  • Jay | September 8, 2012 10:15 AMReply

    The Master wins best film at VENICE film festival. just announced!!

  • Daniel | September 8, 2012 10:30 PM

    ....second to Pieta, which won the Golden Lion.

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