Al Pacino will star as former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in a new HBO movie to be directed by Barry Levinson, Variety has learned.
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.”
Paterno, often referred to as JoePa, is widely regarded as one of the best college football coaches of all time. However, his career came to a sudden halt in 2011 when assistant coach Sandusky’s crimes came to light, with a 2012 report concluding that Paterno and other Penn State officials were aware of Sandusky’s actions but chose to look the other way.
Levinson will direct and executive produce through his Levinson/Fontana banner, with Jason Sosnoff and Tom Fontana also executive producing. Edward Pressman and Linday Sloane will also executive produce, along with Rick Nicita through his RP Media Company. Debora Cahn, John C. Richards, and David McKenna will write. The film will be produced in association with Sony Pictures Television.