Al Pacino is attached to play former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming biopic, according to Deadline. There is no studio or production company attached to the project yet, but ICM Partners is building a package around sportswriter Joe Posnanski’s book Paterno and Pacino’s involvement.
Posnanski’s book was written before the Penn State sex scandal, which tarnished Paterno’s reputation before his death. Paterno’s assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse against young boys. Paterno was criticized for assisting in hiding the scandal and fired from his long-standing position, passing away shortly after. After his death, the NCAA took away all of Paterno’s wins going back to the cover-up and Penn State has removed a statue with his likeness from the campus.
However, it seems that the film version will include the scandal in its narrative arc. The decision is not surprising, considering the large amount of public interest in the case. Pacino is no stranger to playing controversial characters to great success: his portrayal Jack Kevorkian in HBO’s 2010 TV movie You Don’t Know Jack won him an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.