Though Al Pacino has been attached to play controversial US college football coach Joe Paterno for a while now, the deals and details of the film to surround him have only just started to come together. But the big news is that the movie – currently working titled Happy Valley – will see Pacino reunite with his Scarface/Carlito’s Way director Brian De Palma.
Edward R Pressman is the producer making it all work and hiring American History X writer Dave McKenna to craft a script from Paterno, the book by Joe Posnanski about the legendary sports figure who became embroiled in the Penn State child molestation case that rocked America in 2011 and last year.
Paterno had been the head coach for the university for decades when the abuse scandal surrounding former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky broke. Revelations emerged that Paterno and others in the football program were aware of Sandusky’s actions, but did little to stop it for fear of bad publicity damaging a winning team. Paterno was fired and the university tore down his statue. The ironic-sounding title, incidentally, refers to the nickname for the area in which Penn State sits.
“Happy Valley reunites the Scarface and Carlito’s Way team of De Palma & Pacino for the third time and I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” Pressman tells Deadline. The story is certainly a complicated one, but could be a fascinating one in the hands of De Palma and Pacino.