HBO Films’ Paterno centres on Penn State’s Joe Paterno in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Paterno’s legacy is challenged and he is forced to face questions of institutional failure in regard to the victims.
Academy Award® and Emmy® Award winner Al Pacino (HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack”; “Scent of a Woman”) returns to HBO, starring in the title role. Debuting this spring, PATERNO marks Pacino’s third HBO collaboration with award-winning director Barry Levinson, having starred in “You Don’t Know Jack,” which earned Pacino a Golden Globe for Best Actor and an Emmy® for acting and Levinson a Emmy® for directing. Pacino also starred in the title role in HBO’s “Phil Spector,” which Levinson executive produced. Levinson directs PATERNO from a script by Debora Cahn and John C. Richards.
“PATERNO is not a sprawling piece that spans years,” observes director and executive producer Barry Levinson. “It unfolds largely over a two-week period, when we watch the events play out. I’m not following an agenda or trying to tell the audience to take a certain side in regards to Coach Paterno. The film lays out the elements of the story and leaves you to make your own judgment. There are times when you may feel one way, and times when you may feel a totally different way, and I think that’s what makes the piece so compelling.
“Joe Paterno was known as an honourable man, an educator, a humanitarian – so trying to make sense out of what happened is, for me, the most fascinating aspect of the story,” he adds. “What did he understand? What did he not understand?”
The film also stars Riley Keough (“The Girlfriend Experience,” “Logan Lucky”) as Sara Ganim, the 23- year-old journalist who first reported on the Sandusky case for The Patriot-News, a daily newspaper serving the Harrisburg, Pa. metropolitan area; Kathy Baker (“The Age of Adaline”) as Sue Paterno, Joe’s wife; Greg Grunberg (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Larry Mitchell (“Brawl in Cell Block 99”) as Joe’s sons, Scott and Jay Paterno; and Annie Parisse (“Friends from College,” “Person of Interest”) as Mary Kay Paterno, Joe’s daughter.
Barry Levinson received a Best Director Oscar® for the multiple Academy Award®-winning “Rain Man,” and earned two Oscar® nominations as director and producer of “Bugsy,” as well as Best Original Screenplay Oscar® nominations for “Diner,” “…and Justice for All” and “Avalon.” He also executive produced and directed HBO Films’ “The Wizard of Lies” and “You Don’t Know Jack” and executive produced HBO Films’ “Phil Spector,” all of which earned him Emmy® nominations.
HBO Films’ PATERNO, a Levinson/Fontana production of a Barry Levinson Film, is executive produced by Barry Levinson, Jason Sosnoff, Edward R. Pressman, Rick Nicita and Lindsay Sloane; Amy Herman produces. PATERNO is produced in association with Sony Pictures Television.
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