Al Pacino to portray Penn State coach Joe Paterno in new HBO film

By Wade Sheridan  |  June 6, 2017 at 11:36 AM
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June 6 (UPI) -- Al Pacino will portray former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in a new HBO film that will explore the child sexual abuse scandal centered on former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

"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 of institutional failure on behalf of the victims," reads a synopsis obtained by Variety.

The untitled television film will be directed and executive produced by Barry Levinson, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Debora Cahn, John C. Richards and David McKenna are writing the script.

Paterno was the head coach of the Penn State football team from 1966 to 2011. He was dismissed after it was concluded that he didn't actively pursue discipline after reportedly seeing Sandusky, an assistant coach from 1969 to 1999, have sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old boy in the Penn State practice center.

Sandusky was arrested and found guilty in 2012 on 45 counts of sexual abuse of young boys. He is now serving up to 60 years in prison.

Paterno died in 2012 from lung cancer, two months after he was fired.

Pacino and Levinson previously collaborated on other HBO projects such as the Jack Kevorkian biopic You Don't Know Jack, and Phil Spector about the murder trial of the music business legend.

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