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Brian De Palma Will Direct Al Pacino As Disgraced Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

This would be a completely inappropriate moment to make a “Say hello to my little friend” joke, even though Al Pacino reportedly will be reteam with his Scarface director for a movie based on the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

Brian De Palma will direct Pacino in the sure-to-be-controversial Happy Valley, according to Deadline. Paterno, of course, had his football legacy completely decimated after it was revealed that Penn State’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was conducting several lewd relationships with underage boys – and soliciting them through his charitable organizations. Paterno was diagnosed with cancer at the tail end of this sordid national scandal, and died almost immediately. As Deadline notes, many who tracked the legendary coach’s descent believed the scandal practically killed him as much as the cancer did.

Oddly enough, this will be a return to the sidelines for Pacino, who once played a fiery football coach for Oliver Stone in Any Given Sunday. The movie reportedly will be based on Joe Posnanski’s best-selling book Paterno, though it’s unclear, at the moment, just how much of the movie will be dedicated to the Sandusky tragedy and how much might be an actual tribute to Paterno’s accomplishments at Penn State. Pacino had been attached to the project since last September, when the scandal was even fresher in the public's mind.

De Palma isn’t one of the names that you associate with docu-drama, ripped from the headlines filmmaking, though the ugly details of the Sandusky-Paterno relationship are right up the Dressed to Kill director’s alley. He and Pacino have worked together on multiple films, from Scarface to Carlito’s Way. This seems like a fantastic pairing, given the story, but what do you think?

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.