Al Pacino has been cast as former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming Barry Levinson-directed HBO film about the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.
The 77-year-old Scarface and Godfather icon will play the role of Paterno during his time as coach of Penn State University, according to Variety.
Paterno is still considered by many to be the greatest college football coach of all time; however, his career and reputation were severely damaged after the emergence of a sexual abuse scandal in which his longtime assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was found guilty of sexually abusing dozens of children. The film will examine Paterno’s role in the scandal.
Paterno died in 2012, just two months after he was fired from Penn State.
“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,” the official logline for the film reads.
The film, which does not currently have a title, will be directed by Barry Levinson, whose previous work includes titles such as Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Rain Man (1991) and Wag the Dog (1997.) It will be produced by HBO and released by Sony Pictures.
Sandusky was found guilty in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse; the 73-year-old disgraced coach was later sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.