LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Godfather” star Al Pacino may soon be portraying the late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno in a possible film or television project that is currently being shopped around Hollywood, a spokeswoman for his agency said on Monday.
Hollywood industry website Deadline.com reported on Friday that the Oscar-winning actor has expressed an interest in playing Paterno, who fell from grace in a pedophile scandal that rocked the United States last year. The film would be based on the best-selling biography “Paterno,” written by sportswriter Joe Posnanski.
Pacino’s talent agency ICM on Monday confirmed Deadline’s account to Reuters but had no further details.
There is no screenplay written and no director attached to the project, which has yet to find a home at a film studio or television network.
Paterno was fired in November 2011 after his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of abusing several boys over 15 years. A jury later convicted Sandusky of 45 of the 48 counts against him. He is in jail awaiting sentencing.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85, two months after he was fired. An independent report released in July said Penn State leaders, including Paterno, covered up Sandusky’s sexual abuse for years, showing a callous disregard for the victims to protect a multi-million-dollar football program.
Posnanski began writing the book in 2011 - which also includes Paterno’s life before Penn State - with Paterno’s co-operation before the scandal broke. The author incorporated the scandal into the book, including his own personal conversations with Paterno about what happened, and the book was published last month.
Pacino, 72, previously played fictional football coach Tony D’Amato in Oliver Stone’s 1999 movie “Any Given Sunday”.
The actor has played several real-life characters lately. He won an Emmy award for starring as controversial doctor-assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian in the 2010 HBO film “You Don’t Know Jack”, and record producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector in an upcoming biopic for the cable channel.
Reporting By Zorianna Kit, editing by Jill Serjeant and Andrew Hay