HBO released a trailer Friday for its upcoming film about longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
The film, simply titled “Paterno,” stars Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino as Paterno and focuses on the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The movie’s director, Barry Levinson, said in a release that the film “unfolds largely over a two-week period” after news of the Sandusky indictment emerged. Sandusky, who was found guilty of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in June 2012, was an assistant under Paterno from 1969 until his retirement in 1999.
Levinson said the film “lays out the elements of the story and leaves you to make your own judgment” about what Paterno may have known about Sandusky’s misdeeds.
“‘Paterno’ is not a sprawling piece that spans years,” Levinson said. “It unfolds largely over a two-week period, when we watch the events play out. I’m not following an agenda or trying to tell the audience to take a certain side in regards to Coach Paterno. The film lays out the elements of the story and leaves you to make your own judgment. There are times when you may feel one way, and times when you may feel a totally different way, and I think that’s what makes the piece so compelling.
“Joe Paterno was known as an honorable man, an educator, a humanitarian — so trying to make sense out of what happened is, for me, the most fascinating aspect of the story. What did he understand? What did he not understand?”
Former PSU assistant Mike McQueary has said on several occasions he witnessed Sandusky with a boy in the showers of Penn State’s football building in 2002. In grand jury testimony from winter 2011, Paterno testified McQueary told him he had seen Sandusky “fondling a young boy” in the showers and that it was “of a sexual nature.” Paterno said McQueary did not get into specifics.
Paterno said he then notified then-athletic director Tim Curley about what McQueary told him. He has been criticized for not doing more.
In the Freeh Report, a Penn State-sanctioned investigation into the Sandusky situation released in July 2012, it is alleged that Paterno, along with former school president Graham Spaniel, Curley and former senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz were aware of complaints against Sandusky. In one instance, the Freeh Report accuses Spanier, Curley and Schultz of choosing not to report the allegation against Sandusky which was relayed from McQueary to Paterno.
The Paterno family has long argued that Joe did not have knowledge of Sandusky’s crimes.
Other than “spring 2018,” an official premiere date for the film has not been announced by the network.
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