Report: Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in biopic

Al Pacino and Joe Paterno
Al Pacino, left, and Joe Paterno.
AP Photo/Jim Prisching

(CBS News) Last month, the biography "Paterno" debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Now Joe Posnanski's biography of the legendary Penn State football coach may be coming to a theater near you.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a movie version starring Al Pacino is being shopped this week to producers and studios by ICM Partners. ICM represents both Posnanski and Pacino and reports that the actor's manager, Rick Nicita, will produce the film.

Paterno, who died in January at age 85, was a revered Hall of Fame coach but his legacy was forever altered after defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's arrest last November on child sex abuse charges.

The 72-year-old Pacino, of course, is best known for his mobster roles, including Michael Corleone in the Godfather trilogy and Tony Montana in Scarface. However, the versatile actor is no stranger to football - he played fiery coach Tony D'Amato in the 1999 Oliver Stone film Any Given Sunday.

Posnanski, who had written stories praising Paterno in the past, told the AP last month that not until he was doing his research for the book did he realize the extent to which Paterno has been practically deified by fans and the media at times in his life.

Author: Paternos never tried to influence book

"No person could live up to those stories," Posnanski said. "That's really when this whole idea struck me of that Joe Paterno in so many ways has never been treated like a real person. All of these years he was treated like a saint and of course now, he's treated like the opposite. ... He brought a lot of that on himself. He demanded that of himself, too."

Last week, "Paterno" fell five spots to No. 6 on the hardcover nonfiction list, according to Reuters.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for

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