HBO has suspended production of Al Pacino and Brian de Palma’s biopic of Joe Paterno, Happy Valley, Deadline reports.
The news comes as a shock for two reasons. First, this is the first time any studio has claimed ownership to the screen adaptation of Joe Posnanski’s novel, Paterno. Furthermore, the news comes after a week of exciting developments surrounding the motion picture.
An HBO representative told Deadline that, while production had not been cancelled, the studio has placed Happy Valley on hold.
“We have not killed the project, so to say so inaccurate… We have suspended pre-production for a moment to deal with budget issues, but the project is still intact at HBO with the entire creative team as before.”
The studio said that it would use the additional time to work on the script.
Last week, Al Pacino confirmed that not only had Happy Valley escaped development hell, but its production was “ramping up.” And two days ago, The Wrap announced that John Carroll Lynch, Zodiac and Fargo star, was slated to play Jerry Sandusky.
Speaking of The Wrap, the entertainment news site says that the film “tackles the molestation scandal that rocked the nation,” despite screenwriter David McKenna’s affirmation that the film would focus on Joe Paterno’s life, and the scandal would play only a minor role.
Deadline also reported that Wall Street producer Edward R. Pressman has agreed to produce Happy Valley, along with Jon Katz and Al Pacino’s manager, Rick Nicita.