Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in an HBO biopic about the Penn State scandal involving Jerry Sandusky’s rape convictions that put Paterno and other members of the university under a dark cloud several years ago.
Paterno was a longtime football coach for Penn State, leading the team from 1966 to 2011 before he was dismissed from the team after it was found that he had knowledge of Sandusky’s child molestation – some of which took place on Penn State’s campus, according to ABC News.
Sandusky, who was arrested and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys in 2011, served as the assistant football coach under Paterno from 1969 to 1999.
Paterno allegedly had knowledge of Sandusky’s sexual abuse as early as 1976.
Jeff Cusson, the senior vice president of corporate communications at HBO, told USA Today that Pacino, who’s been in show business for some 50 years, would play Paterno in the new film that’s set to chronicle Sandusky’s scandal.
"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," according to a press release for the film.
The film will be directed and executive produced by Barry Levinson.
Debora Cahn, John C. Richards and David McKenna will write the script for the HBO film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Cahn wrote for "Grey’s Anatomy" and "The West Wing." Richards has penned the script for "Sahara" and "Nurse Betty," while McKenna wrote for "SWAT" and "American History X."
HBO will partner with Sony Pictures Television to present the movie.
Pacino has worked with HBO in the past, starring in three films, including "You Don’t Know Jack" in 2010, for which he won an Emmy and Golden Globe.
The biopic comes after Paterno died in 2012 from lung cancer, just two months after he was fired by Penn State.
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