Category Archives: Barry Levinson

If I Wrote The Opening Scene to the Barry Levinson/Al Pacino Penn State Movie

Spoiler Alert:  I don't know Barry Levinson.

Also, I am not close personal friends with Al Pacino.

But I have been fascinated by the recent announcement that Levinson will be directing, and Pacino will be starring, in an HBO movie about Penn State, tentatively called "Happy Valley".

The official logline for the film reads: “After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims.”

I don't know Levinson, or Pacino, and I know there's already three pro writers on this project already whom I also don't know personally (for the record, Debora Cahn (Grey's Anatomy), John C. Richards (Nurse Betty), and David McKenna (American History X)).  I also know that it's based on the book by Joe Posanski (called Paterno, released shortly after the Sandusky scandal came to light), another artist whom I also don't know personally.

What I do know, though, is that a great movie about Joe Paterno and the scandal can be made, and the opening scene should be what I wrote below - formed almost entirely from Paterno's own words.
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