Al Pacino looks weathered and downtrodden as disgraced college football coach Joe Paterno in the teaser trailer for the upcoming HBO film, Paterno. He stares off morosely as between scenes of players on the gridiron, child molester Jerry Sandusky being arrested and guiding a boy into an elevator, men crying and journalists attempting to question Paterno – all as voices chant “Joe Pat-ern-o” and clap along excitedly. When one of his sons asks, “Dad, did you know about Jerry?” the reason why Pacino is staring off comes into focus.
The film, which HBO tagged as coming this spring, tells the story of the coach whose legendary six-decade stint at Penn State made him one of the winningest NCAA football coaches came crashing down amid scandal. Paterno’s career ended in disgrace when he was fired for withholding information about assistant coach Sandusky’s sexual assaults on high school boys. Paterno had knowledge of an incident where Sandusky had raped a young boy but failed to report it to police, leading to his dismissal in 2011. Students rioted in protest of the firing of a beloved coach. He died in 2012.
Barry Levinson, who directed Rain Man and Sleepers, among others, helmed the picture, which also features Riley Keough as journalist Sara Ganim, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Debora Cahn (Vinyl), David McKenna (Get Carter) and John C. Richards (Sahara) also appear in the film.