Al Pacino Is Penn State’s Disgraced Coach in This Trailer For the HBO Biopic, ‘Paterno’

The college football legend looked the other way.

Pacino and Paterno
L: HBO R: Getty Images

Al Pacino probably wasn’t the first name to come to mind for anyone who ever imagined casting an actor to play the late Penn State coach. In this trailer for HBO’s Paterno, it seems obvious he was the perfect choice.

It might be the actor’s now-legendary reputation for embodying the parts he plays coming through, or just a resemblance that wasn’t obvious before, but Pacino looks so right in these scenes it’s kind of eerie. 

In just under a minute, we see shots illustrating the basics of the true story that shattered the great coach’s image in the public eye. 

A deep sadness in his eyes as the trailer cuts to the field during a game, then to child predator Jerry Sandusky guiding a boy into an elevator, then to the press scrum around Paterno after Sandusky’s crimes were revealed.

It’s intense, and it’s all pulled together in one of Paterno’s children asking him if he knew what Sandusky was doing. 

The real Joe Paterno
The real Paterno in 2011

The biopic ranges across Paterno’s incredible career compiling one of the most winning records in the history of college football to its depressing end: Paterno’s firing in 2011 following the revelation that he’d known of at least one of Sandusky’s crimes and done nothing about it.

Paterno is directed by Barry Levinson. HBO hasn’t set an exact premiere date, but it will air sometime this spring.