Al Pacino/Joe Paterno (Photo: Getty Images)
Brian De Palma and Al Pacino are reuniting, for a different sort of film than "Scarface" or "Carlito's Way" for the director-star team: "Happy Valley," the story of disgraced Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
Producer Edward R. Pressman, who optioned Joe Posnanski's book "Paterno" as the basis for the film, said of De Palma and Pacino, "I can't think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw." Paterno's 45-year career as Penn State's football coach ended abruptly in 2011 when he was found to be complicit in the coverup of his assistant Jerry Sandusky's multiple sexual abuses of children.
While the story of a college football coach undone by misplaced loyalty to a subordinate may not seem to bear much resemblance to the previous two De Palma/Pacino collaborations, the ultimate doom Paterno faced as a result of his mistake resembles Tony Montana's poor impulse control heedlessly sowing the seeds of his own destruction less than it does Carlito Brigante's willful inability to recognize the changes of time.
"Happy Valley" will proceed once a screenwriter is hired to adapt Posnanski's book. David McKenna ("American History X," "Blow") has been approached. Release date and distribution information is as yet unknown.