First Look at Al Pacino as Joe Paterno in Barry Levinson’s HBO Film

Al Pacino as Joe Paterno
Marcell Rév/HBO

Introducing Al Pacino as Joe Paterno.

HBO has unveiled a first look photo of the actor in character as the football coach for the cabler’s upcoming project directed by Barry Levinson.

The as-yet-untitled film centers on Joe Paterno, who, after becoming the winningest coach in college football history, is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure regarding the victims.

The film also stars Riley Keough as Sara Ganim, the 23-year-old journalist who first reported on the scandal, bringing it to the attention of the national media — and ultimately winning a Pulitzer Prize for her work. Annie Parisse will play Mary Kay Paterno, Joe Paterno’s daughter.

Levinson is directing and executive producing through his Levinson/Fontana banner, with Jason Sosnoff and Tom Fontana also executive producing. Edward Pressman and Linday Sloane also executive produce, along with Rick Nicita through his RP Media Company. The film was written by Debora Cahn and John C. Richards and David McKenna, and is being produced in association with Sony Pictures Television.

The film marks Pacino’s latest in a string of HBO efforts, along with the Jack Kevorkian biopic “You Don’t Know Jack,” “Phil Spector,” which followed the murder trial of the music business legend, and the mini-series “Angels in America.” Levinson directed and executive produced “You Don’t Know Jack,” as well as executive produced “Phil Spector.” The pair also collaborated on the 2014 film “The Humbling.”

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  1. hicham says:

    Will be a good movie, of course Al in the house and adding young stars will make it more exiting to watch : Adventure and Drama.

  2. millerfilm says:

    Can you imagine sending your child to Penn State? Be the victim of its sexual predators or sociopathic frat leaders?

    • JJP says:

      Wow you’re an idiot!

    • mike4949 says:

      To Millerfilm

      Your position is not intelligent, grossly unrelated, and not fair. Or to put you illogical opinion in another way,: the first time you undressed a girln with your eyes, you became forever a terrorist and rapist of women!

  3. Michael P Simons says:

    To all mothers and fathers and all advocates of children

    Joe Paterno’s action in Shower 2001 was ethically and legally the absolute wrong reaction! And his legacy will never be restored to its rightful place in history until the following is found acceptable by everyone. Why was his behavior so wrong?  It’s like this:

    Call it “fondling,” “touching,” “caressing,” or “horseplay,” a naked male adult with a naked minor in a closed private gymnasium at a major university on a Friday night constitutes reasonable doubt, a legalized suspicion as to the appropriateness of that adult’s behavior. A 911 call is mandated here legally and ethically — immediately without hesitation. Period! You always let the policing experts take over and investigate the legality or illegality of a scene of alleged rape — immediately without hesitation. Period!

    Paterno and McQueary’s transgression was instantaneously making invisible, obscure, and insignificant a little boy suspected to be in immediate danger by replacing his image, instantaneously, with the image of Jerry Sandusky.

    Had that adult in Shower 2001 been a stranger, JoePa’s legacy today would be untouched!

    Why the cover up? Because McQueary, his father, Dr. Dranov, and Paterno all had a many years acquaintance with Jerry Sandusky and because of this familiarity, they all feared for the reputation of Penn State and its football team.!

    For Shame!

    • JJP says:

      The victim you’re referring to testified that nothing happened in the shower that day. In fact his testimony wasn’t used in trial by prosecutors. Educate yourself before making such comments.

      • mike4949 says:

        To JJP

        Your juvenile post is completely and totally incorrect! Here’s why.

        Yes, a teacher is obligated to report hearing from a child that their parent may possibly have abused them. The teacher then goes to an administrator.

        Not so in Paterno’s case. The kid was allegedly being terrorized that evening. That means the alleged crime was an on-going, real time, criminal activity. That fact made Parterno and McQueary’s legal and ethical obligation to contact a policing authority — immediately without hesitation!

        JJP, When a kid is being attacked by an adult, you don’t 24 hours later report to an athletic director who had neither the power to stop the crime; nor the resources to identify the child. .

        And by golly, look what happened! JJP, if a simple 911 call had been performed, you and I wouldn’t be debating here! And hypothetically, if that adult in Shower 2001 had been a stranger, the 911 call would have been made — immediately without hesitation!

        And further hypothetically, had that kid been one of Paterno’s grandsons, does anyone think JoePa would have waited 24 hours before going to an athletic director?

        That little boy was someone’s grandchild. For shame!

      • JJP says:

        Ask any teacher in a public teaching institution what their obligation is to report such acts and they’ll tell you once reported you never hear back. He did the right thing in reporting it whether it happened or not. 911 call is not the protocol as you should know. It’s administrators first. Educate yourself again. Paterno’s actions were correct.

      • mike4949 says:

        To JJP

        How disingenuous of you.

        It is totally and completely irrelevant the victim testified ten years later nothing sexually untoward happened that night in 2001. Why? Because Shower 2001 was about a 24 hour period in which it was believed by four people that something of a sexual nature did transpire! And because of that belief they were all morally and legally obligated to seek a policing authority. Just because years later the victim revealed nothing happened does not change the obligation those men had at that particular time in 2001!.

        Educate yourself before making such an outrageous comment that has nothing to do with the lack of action by four men in 2001!.


    • millerfilm says:

      Please! Paterno knew exactly what was going on. He let those young men be assaulted so he could keep his winning record going. There is no “reputation” to restore. He wrote his own ending.

    • city4357 says:

      There’s no legal obligation by Paterno, as he was not a mandatory reporter under PA law.

      Also, nothing was made invisible, as Paterno and McQueary both reported it to the head of campus police. It was up to his say as to what to do with that information. The NCAA and college rules, the same everywhere, are very clear that a coach and staff is to have no further involvement about allegations of broken laws.

      A non-employee breaking the law has no more impact or involvement with football just because it occurred near it. Also, a non-employee breaking the law on campus wouldn’t harm PSU’s reputation, as crime occurs everywhere.

      You sound like some nutty pitt graduate that selectively cares about abuse in this years old case and devotes no other time to any other abused victims anywhere else. Shame that your care is so selective.

      • millerfilm says:

        Jocks and their boosters will defend anyone so that their team will keep winning. Young men and women are fully expendable when it comes to game day. Just say that. You would at least be honest then.

      • mike4949 says:

        To City4357

        Thank for your response.

        You: “There’s no legal obligation by Paterno, as he was not a mandatory reporter under PA law.”

        This is and never was a Mandatory Reporter issue! Why? When it is believed by anyone (Paterno) that something of a “sexual nature” is alleged to have been perpetrated upon a child, there is no law preventing JoePa from having McQueary dial 911. Furthermore, the LEGAL AND ETHICAL obligation of all four men during that 24 hour period in 2001 was to bring help to that child – immediately without hesitation. Period. Where there is smoke, you assume there is a fire and call 911. McQueary claimed to have witnessed the smoke and the fire — 911 needed to be called immediately without hesitation! Period.

        You: “Paterno and McQueary both reported it to the head of campus police.”

        Absolutely not true. Schultz had no involvement with the campus police, he didn’t carry a gun, and was never involved in campus crime investigations. His only relationship with the police (whom he never contacted after he talked with Paterno) was to sign and issue payroll checks each month. That’s it!

        You: “… a non-employee breaking the law on campus wouldn’t harm PSU’s reputation, as crime occurs everywhere.”

        Absolutely and completely not true. Why? Because this non-employee was Jerry Sandusky! Exposing him as a possible pedophile frightened those four men. Look at it this way: Had that adult in Shower 2001 been a total stranger, you and I would not today be having this discussion.

      • Chris says:

        Wow. What flavor is the Kool-Aid?

    • v says:

      Idiot…you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • mike4949 says:

        To Mr. (It takes one to know one) Idiot

        Put away your juvenile retort and tell me exactly what you don’t agree with in my post!


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