Al Pacino Reteaming with 'Scarface' Director for Joe Paterno Biopic
Looks like the iconic Scarface star Al Pacino is about to say hello to his...old friend. Deadline reports that Brian De Palma, who directed Pacino in both Scarface and Carlito's Way, has signed on to helm Happy Valley, the upcoming biopic of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Based on Joe Pasnanski's NY Times bestselling book, the film will presumably follow Paterno's career building the Penn State football program into a powerhouse from the ground up in the 1980s and also cover his fall from grace and death that closely followed the horrific Jerry Sandusky sex scandal which rocked the nation a couple of years ago.
One could make the case that De Palma hasn't directed anything good since the first Mission: Impossible back in 1996, so perhaps reteaming with the star of two of his most popular movies is exactly the shot in the arm that the director needs. Or so we hope. His filmography is filled with projects of questionable quality over the past decade, and early buzz from his upcoming film Passion hasn't exactly lit the film world ablaze.
Happy Valley should be an interesting project, especially in the way that De Palma and screenwriter Dave McKenna (American History X) choose to depict Paterno, who didn't participate in the rapes of young boys on the Penn State campus but also didn't alert the authorities to stop it when he found out it was going on, either. The nature of the subject matter would indicate that the filmmakers can't avoid taking sides here, but hopefully with De Palma at the helm, he can coax a complex performance out of Pacino and some people might be able to get a bit of closure from the finished product. Stay tuned for additional updates.