OT: Pacino to play Joe Paterno?

Submitted by Moe Greene on January 18th, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Via ESPN -

Curious casting choices here, no?

LOS ANGELES -- Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach.

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."

"'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.


We can only say this - the scene in which Paterno gets mad and yells a lot will be well done.



January 18th, 2013 at 12:46 PM ^

I liked this movie (except for the weird uniforms and team names), but I always thought Pacino was wrongly cast for that role. He doesn't really strike me as a prototypical football coach. The only reason he might be okay to play Paterno is that he looks a little bit like him.


January 18th, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

de Palma hasn't made a even a decent movie in 20 years, and even his good movies (Scarface, Untouchables, Carlito's Way) are right on the edge of camp. This will either be a disaster or will never make it out of pre-priduction.


January 18th, 2013 at 9:17 AM ^

I saw this.  This is a risky proposition.  Hard to make a movie like this without the dust settling on the most significant portion of what the story will be.  For Pacino, I think it could be a legacy type role depending on the script and the direction the movie goes in.  He already played the hell out of a football coach in an otherwise bad movie so I am anxious to see what he can bring to this role in a good one (assuming it is).  I will see it, I am not sure how I will feel about seeing it.


January 18th, 2013 at 9:49 AM ^

The dust has a long way to go until it is settled......there are criminal trials coming up, a whistleblower suit and all of the civil litigation surrounding the victims.

If it is truly biographical and follows a timeline that approaches Paterno's lifetime, I suspect Paterno's involvement in the scandal will ge played down.  Or perhaps that will be the beginning of the movie and the rest will be portraying Paterno as  hero.

I won't see it unless I know there is no money going to the Paterno estate. I hope Paterno rots in hell.


January 18th, 2013 at 10:00 AM ^

Potential Oscar bait is my only theory. This would be exactly the kind of "challenging role" that gets people awards come winter time but doesn't make money at the box office. I think people will be curious but ultimately, it probably won't make its budget back because people have heard this story to death for the last few years.
As for marketing this type of film... I mean, it's a biopic so I would assume they will portray it as a tragedy of how one man's hubris destroyed a community and ruined the lives of countless young children. The classic Shakespeare-ian rise and fall of an icon.


January 18th, 2013 at 9:32 AM ^

will be channelling his blind character from Scent of a Woman for this role, since Paterno didn't see anything happening in Happy Valley.

credit to who said this - @UMGoBlog on twitter (not brian)


January 18th, 2013 at 12:51 PM ^

I don't mind a Paterno movie, but it shouldn't be based on that book. Posnanski is a Paterno apologist, and his book is a sympathetic portrayal that whitewashes Paterno's role in the Sandusky scandal. 


January 18th, 2013 at 2:02 PM ^

Al Pacino seems like a great choice for the role, but I'm just not interested in seeing a Joe Paterno biopic. I could feel differently by the time "Happy Valley" is ready for release, though. I wonder how the PSU community feels about this film.


January 18th, 2013 at 3:15 PM ^

Maybe that's what they'll go for. 

"Based on a true story..."

Seriously, this movie's going to be awful. Brian dePalma's one of the least subtle directors in Hollywood, Pacino, when he's not directed well, can be a terrible over-actor, and the story is rife with potential for a horribly cliched "good man brought down by one fatal flaw" script treatment. Unfortunately, getting Pacino to sign on likely means it will get financing. Hopefully, they'll have trouble agreeing on a script and Pacino's shooting window will disappear.


January 18th, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

Pacino as Paterno?  Meh.  I can think of at least a few actors who both look more the part and would probably do a better job of it too.   John Tuturro, to name one.  It has been a long time since Pacino has added  value to a movie.