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It’s Official! Al Pacino to Play Joe Paterno in Brian De Palma’s ‘Happy Valley’

Al Pacino Joe Paterno
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Don’t let the title of Brian De Palma’s latest fool you — the director is re-teaming with his ‘Scarface’ star Al Pacino to take on the not-so-happy story of Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach who got caught up in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Though we heard rumblings about this Joe Paterno movie last year, it’s now official. Deadline reports that director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino are reuniting for ‘Happy Valley,’ based on the book ‘Paterno’ by Joe Posnanski. Pacino will play Joe Paterno in the film, which tells the story of the scandal that swept Penn State when defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused of child molestation.

Paterno, the legendary and esteemed head coach of the Penn State football team, was accused of knowing about the abuse and allowing it to continue under his nose. Paterno allegedly knew that Sandusky was a pedophile, and though he told a college administrator about it, nothing was done to remove Sandusky from his position, not even after a student and a future coach caught Sandusky in the act.

When Sandusky’s abuse became public, Paterno was fired, and he died of cancer shortly thereafter, though many speculate the stress and heartbreak of losing his job contributed to his passing.

Pacino has been attached to play Paterno since the book was shopped around last fall, and though it’s a sad tale to be told, we’re glad to see Pacino and De Palma together again and we hope the pair can do this tragic story justice.

Win McNamee, Getty Images
Win McNamee, Getty Images
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