Penn State Football

HBO offers first details on ‘Paterno’ movie release date

Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in the HBO movie “Paterno,” about his role in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in the HBO movie “Paterno,” about his role in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Photo provided

“Paterno,” HBO’s movie about Penn State’s famed head coach during the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, will premiere in the spring of 2018, according to a tweet by the company Thursday night.

No specific date has yet been released.

The HBO movie was greenlighted last summer after the several years of speculation. In 2013, Al Pacino was rumored to play Joe Paterno — but that film was suspended pre-production due to “budget issues,” per TV Line.

Pacino is starring as Paterno in this version of the film, which is directed and executive produced by Barry Levinson, who’s worked on such films as “The Natural” and “Good Morning, Vietnam.”

Pacino, an Oscar-winning actor who’s been nominated eight times, told IndieWire on Thursday that he didn’t visit Happy Valley to research the film. But he did watch a 2014 documentary about the scandal — and he believes Paterno’s responsibility in it all remains unclear.

“He did act upon it,” Pacino said. “He did say he thought someone should look into this. (But) a guy like Paterno — he’s like an emperor, he’s like a king. He didn’t take up with it because it was out of his control. And I think this is a character who’s used to control.”

Actress Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road, Magic Mike) is playing former PennLive reporter Sara Ganim. And Kathy Baker (Picket Fences, The Ranch) is taking on the role of Sue Paterno.

Levinson insisted he isn’t trying to take a stand on Paterno one way or the other, according to IndieWire.

“I think at the end of the day there will be people who believe (Paterno knew about the abuse) and there will be people who don’t,” Levinson said.

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