A recent report from The Playlist has confirmed that Al Pacino will be playing Joe Paterno in an upcoming biopic titled Happy Valley. What’s more, he’ll be reuniting with an old friend: director Brian DePalma.
As we reported back in September, Happy Valley will follow the bestselling book Paterno by Joe Posnanski. Producer Edward R. Pressman acquired the rights to the book and has called upon the talents of David McKenna to write the script, the same talent who gifted audiences such work as American History X and Blow (and SWAT, but let’s try to stay positive).
Brian DePalma and Al Pacino have given audiences such films as Scarface, a legendary gangster film that really needs to introduction, and Carlito’s Way, another crime movie showcasing Pacino’s range and talent. Al Pacino seems to be flocking to controversial roles nowadays, earning critical praise for his work as Jack Kevorkian in the HBO series You Don’t Know Jack and taking on the role of Phil Spector in an upcoming biopic directed by David Mamet. It only makes sense that an actor of Pacino’s caliber would be attracted to Happy Valley.
Just in case you somehow haven’t heard, Joe Paterno was the coach of the Penn State football team for over 40 years. While he managed to earn two national championships and the respect of the entire nation in terms of football programs, Paterno also heard about assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s rumored sexual abuse of young boys and refused to take proper action. JoPa, as he came to be known, became part of a coverup and was subsequently fired, stripped of his wins by the NCAA and had his statue on campus torn down.
Needless to say, there’s plenty for McKenna and DePalma to work with in terms of story for Happy Valley. It’s also needless to say that we’re more than excited about it. While some may argue that it’s far too soon for such a project to be in motion, it’s a story that needs to be told, even while ESPN’s coverage of the scandal seemed to be, at times, too intimate. As of today, no word has been mentioned as to when pre-production on Happy Valley will start, but we’ll be following closely and be sure to dish out the details.