After tackling numerous high profile roles throughout his career - The Godfather, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Heat, and more - Academy Award winner Al Pacino’s next challenge will be the portrayal of legendary Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno.
ICM Partners, who represent both Pacino and Paterno author Joe Posnanski, is packaging the film, which will be based on Paterno’s life adapted from Posnanski’s New York Times Bestseller. So far, the package includes Pacino in the lead role and Pacino’s manager, Rick Nicita, as producer.
According to Deadline, instead of focusing merely on Paterno’s fall from grace and the sex abuse scandal involving Penn State University, the film will be a biopic, chronicling the life and career of a man many consider to be the greatest football coach of all time.
Paterno, often referred to as Joe Pa by Penn State fans and students, accumulated over 400 wins as a college football coach in a career that spanned six decades. He was dismissed from his head coaching post at Penn State in 2011, after serving 45 years with the University for his involvement in the scandal that broke that year. Subsequently, the NCAA vacated all of Paterno’s wins that dated back to 1998, 111 in all. Paterno died in January from lung cancer.
Pacino is no stranger to taking on roles of real-life controversial figures. Pacino played assisted suicide advocate, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, in the 2010 HBO Films biopic You Don’t Know Jack, a performance for which he won his second Emmy Award.
Obviously, the project is still in the earliest stages of development, with no script, no director attached and no deal made as of yet. It is also unclear whether the film would be made as a big budget feature or as a cable TV movie.
One thing is certain. Pacino is a great talent who could bring a lot of authenticity to the role. He previously played fictional football coach Tony D’ Amato in Olver Stone’s Any Given Sunday.
As always, we’ll keep you updated as this untitled project continues to take shape.