Joe Paterno, the once idolized Penn State head football coach, will be the subject of a biopic, where he will be portrayed by Al Pacino. The film will be "built around Joe Posnanski's biography" of the coach that's now sitting atop the New York Times Bestseller list.
Posnanski's book is a comprehensive account of Paterno's entire life rather than simply his tumultuous last few months that saw him fired and disgraced before succumbing to lung cancer earlier this year. The author had unique access to Paterno for over a year before the scandal erupted, and he continued to chronicle the coach's life until its end, which will presumably form the bulk of this developing film.
This time last year, it seemed unfeasible that Paterno would ever be the subject of a film that'd be anything less than flattering. Upheld for over 45 years as an almost impossible ideal in an increasingly corrupt landscape, Paterno was not only the game's winningest coach, but also its infallible idol, a man whose "Grand Experiment" at Penn State churned out as many model citizens as it did model athletes.
It all came crashing down, however, when assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was outed as a pedophile whose crimes were willingly ignored by Penn State's administration and Paterno himself. Sandusky was found guilty of multiple accounts of sexual assault, while a scathing independent investigation commissioned by the university found Paterno himself culpable in the scandal.
Such an arc obviously seems a little too ripe for a film, and it's no surprise that ICM Partners has seized on it. At the moment, it's hard to even call it much of a project since there's no director or screenwriter attached, but Pacino's attachment gives the project clout.
While Pacino doesn't seem like the first choice to portray Paterno, it's worth noting that he melted into the role of Jack Kevorkian in "You Don't Know Jack," plus he's already had experience playing a football coach in "Any Given Sunday."
- Arts & Entertainment
- Sports & Recreation
- Joe Paterno
- Penn State
- Joe Posnanski
- Al Pacino