Barry Levinson set to direct the made-for-TV flick
After several years on the sidelines, HBO’s Penn State sex scandal movie is once again prepping to take the field.
The subscription network announced Monday that Al Pacino will star as former Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno in the Barry Levinson-directed feature.
The untitled film will follow Paterno, who “after becoming the winningest coach in college football history [becomes] 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 victim,” per the project’s official synopsis.
Following a two-year investigation, Sandusky, who served under Paterno as the team’s assistant coach between 1969 and 1999, was charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse and was found guilty on 45 of them. Paterno was later fired by Penn State as a result of the controversy and died in January 2012 at the age of 85, two months after his ousting.
In 2013, it was reported that Pacino would reteam with Scarface director Brian De Palma for a movie version of the events, initially titled Happy Valley. Almost two years after the production had been announced, HBO put the film on hold.
Levinson, who takes the reins from De Palma, previously directed the channel’s Bernie Madoff biopic The Wizard of Lies, which premiered May 20, in addition to producing a 2013 HBO drama based on the life of Phil Spector. He also directed Pacino in the recent past: HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack (2010) and the festival comedy The Humbling (2014). Levinson won an Academy Award in 1989 for directing the 1988 hit Rain Main.