The HBO film, which does not yet have a name or release date, will be about Paterno getting caught up in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal after becoming the winningest coach in the history of college football. The untitled project is now in production.
Paterno was dismissed by Penn State in 2011 in the wake of the Sandusky child sex abuse revelations. The film marks the second time Pacino has played a football coach, following his turn as the fictional gridiron genius Tony D'Amato in Oliver Stone's hard-hitting sports drama Any Given Sunday.
Before the scandal, Paterno was regarded as one of the most legendary coaches in college football history as he led them to two national championships over his 45 year career.
According to Variety, the film will focus heavily on the Jerry Sandusky scandal. (She eventually won a Pulitzer Prize for her investigative work and is now a reporter for CNN.) Kathy Baker is cast as Paterno's wife, Sue, while Greg Grunberg will play his son (presumably Jay, who was on his father's coaching staff at Penn State).
Levinson, who will direct and executive produce the HBO film along with his producing partners, previously directed Pacino in The Humbling and in the 2010 HBO film You Don't Know Jack.
Pacino was announced in late 2012 to star as Paterno in a film based on the Joe Posnanski biography "Paterno", but in late 2014 HBO announced it was suspending the project because of budget issues.