Report: Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in HBO movie about Penn State scandal

Paterno (L) won 409 games as Penn State’s coach. Pacino has 8 Academy Award nominations. (Getty)

Al Pacino as Joe Paterno? It’s apparently happening.

According to Variety, the longtime actor will play the former Penn State coach in an HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson about the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal at the university. From Variety:

The official logline for the film reads: “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.”

The former Penn State coach is still a revered figure by many Penn State fans. He was fired by the school in November 2011 after Sandusky was indicted and died the following January because of lung cancer. Sandusky, his former defensive coordinator, is currently serving a 30-60 year sentence on sexual abuse charges.

Sandusky was an assistant at Penn State from 1969-99.

Paterno is accused of not doing more than notifying his superiors when he was informed by a then-graduate assistant of a report of Sandusky and a young boy involved in an act of a “sexual nature” in the Penn State football facilities.

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley were sentenced to jail time Friday for their roles in the sex abuse scandal. The three were convicted on child-endangerment charges. After Paterno reported the incident to those above him, no one contacted the police. The administration had decided to go directly to Sandusky instead.

Paterno won 409 games in his time as Penn State’s coach from 1966-2011 and the school won three Big Ten titles under his watch.

Pacino, 77, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and won in 1993 for his role as Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. No date for the Penn State movie’s release was mentioned in the report.


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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!