Al Pacino to Play Joe Paterno, PSU Football Coach Involved in Sandusky Sex-Abuse Cover-Up
Sep 21, 2012 01:49 PM EDT
Academy Award winner Al Pacino will be playing former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno in a movie based on the New York Times best seller "Paterno" by Joe Posnanski. The book covers the rise and fall of the once revered, whose stardom came crumbling down with the revelation of his involvement in the infamous Sandusky child-abuse scandal.
Mike Fleming of deadline.com said of the film, "Oh yeah...It might be a feature or something for HBO or Showtime. When you have Al Pacino you kinda have everything," as reported by LDNews.com
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According to Fleming, the journalist who broke the story, Pacino is confirmed to star in the movie, which will be produced by his manager Rick Nicita. There is no details regarding the director, cast or even if a script exists.
In the biography Author Posnanski writes about Paterno's life from the early years to his rise as the celebrated football coach of PSU and his fall in the last months of life due to the implications of the cover-up in the Sandusky sex-abuse case.
Writer Posnanski had limitless access to Paterno and his family. However regardless of the depth of his information and insight to Paterno, he fails to answer the extent of Paterno involvement in the cover-up scandal. Posnanski fails to find out if Paterno's role in the cover-up was an attempt to save his beloved football program or if it was from a lack of understanding of McQueary's conversation or the severity of it.
However, it is clear from Posnanski's description that Paterno's heart and soul lied in the football program.
Frank Fitzpatrick of the Inquirer writes "In his mania for routine and order, he would tolerate no distraction from his preparations for a game, for a season. No one was allowed to penetrate the bubble. Not fans. Not the media. Not his family. And ultimately not even the suggestion that one of his key assistants might have been a child abuser," as reported by Philly Sports.
The Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal which broke out in November 2011 cost Paterno along with President Graham Spanier their jobs. The consequential trial and then later the Freeh Report, an FBI investigation report detailing the involvement of PSU top-officials including Paterno were released all indicated that Paterno was notified of a particular incident of Sandusky showering with a boy.
Mike McQueary , who testified in court during the trial, admitted that he had approached the coach in his house to inform him that he had witnessed Sandusky in the shower with a boy and that he sensed something unusually inappropriate.
However, Paterno had denied all accusations that he knew anything of the situation. Even in his last months before he died of lung cancer in January 2012, Paterno denied any knowledge. In the book, Posnanski writes about a conversation Paterno had with his son Jay Paterno on the subject, "I didn't hear anything," Paterno says "Why are you badgering me? What do I know about Jerry Sandusky? I've got Nebraska to think about. I can't worry about this," as reported by philly.com
But while the book provides no insight on what we know of Paterno and his involvement in the case, Posnanski does divulging some shocking details about Paterno's relationship with his assistant coach Sandusky. Contrary to popular belief that the two shared a professional rapport, Posnanski reveals that the two hated each other.
"The two men...despised each other from the start," as reported by Time. "Paterno thought Sandusky was a glory-hound who had stopped coaching with any zeal years before he finally retired. And Sandusky . . . thought Paterno was a stick in the mud and deeply resented him for blocking his path to be Penn State's head coach," Posnanski writes.
After McQueary's confession, Paterno took the information up to the athletic head and president (Tim Curly and Graham Spanier respectively), emails revealed in the Freeh report show that Paterno did not want matters taken to authorities.
But Paterno says, ""I did what I thought was the right thing" to which Posnanski tells Paterno 'You are Joe Paterno. Right or wrong, people expect more from you," according to Philly.com
Paterno's response "I wish I had done more."