LOS ANGELES (TheBlaze/AP) — The real life drama that rocked Penn State football will be heading, in part, to the big screen. It has been announced that actor Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late football coach. Paterno gained widespread respect for coaching the Nittany Lions from 1966 until 2011 -- a revered career that ended in turmoil.
Producer Edward R. Pressman confirms Brian De Palma will direct "Happy Valley," the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski's best-seller "Paterno."
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2012 file photo, Al Pacino poses for a portrait, in New York. Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach. Brian De Palma will direct “Happy Valley,” the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski's best-seller “Paterno.” (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)
"'Happy Valley' reunites the 'Scarface' and 'Carlito's Way' team of De Palma and Pacino for the third time and 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," Pressman said in a statement. No start or release dates were given for the film.
While Pressman said the plot remains "under wraps," Posnanski's book followed Paterno's final years, as the winningest coach in college football history saw his career end in disgrace in 2011 with the sex abuse scandal involving assistant Jerry Sandusky.
A description of the book reads:
Joe Posnanski’s biography of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno follows in the tradition of works by Richard Ben Cramer on Joe DiMaggio and David Maraniss on Vince Lombardi. Having gained unprecedented access to Paterno, as well as the coach’s personal notes and files, Posnanski spent the last two years of Paterno’s life covering the coach, on (and off) the field and through the scandal that ended Paterno’s legendary career.
Joe Posnanski, who in 2012 was named the Best Sportswriter in America by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, was with Paterno and his family as a horrific national scandal unfolded and Paterno was fired. Within three months, Paterno died of lung cancer, a tragic end to a life that was epic, influential, and operatic.
Paterno is the fullest description we will ever have of the man’s character and career. In this honest and surprising portrait, Joe Posnanski brings new insight and understanding to one of the most controversial figures in America.
It will be intriguing to see how the film balances a man who was admired by so many, but who left his career -- and this world -- embroiled in scandal.