Actors Cast to Play Sue, Scott Paterno in HBO Movie

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by Geoff Rushton

According to a report from Deadline, the roles of Sue and Scott Paterno have been cast in HBO’s upcoming movie about Joe Paterno, which stars Al Pacino as the late Penn State football coach.

Kathy Baker will play family matriarch Sue, who was married to Joe Paterno from 1962 to his death in 2012. Baker has had numerous television, film and stage roles in a three-decade career. She won three Emmy Awards for her work on the 1990s CBS drama “Picket Fences” and currently has a recurring role on the Netflix comedy “The Ranch.”

Greg Grunberg was cast in the role of Scott Paterno, an attorney and one of Joe and Sue Paterno’s five children. Grunberg had a starring role on the NBC series “Heroes,” and has had many other film and television roles, including appearances in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and the rebooted “Star Trek” movie franchise.

In addition to Pacino, “Mad Max: Fury Road” actress Riley Keough has been cast as former Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim, who in 2011 was the first to report on a grand jury’s investigation of former Penn State football assistant and The Second Mile charity founder Jerry Sandusky for allegations of child sexual abuse.

In early June, it was reported that HBO had given the green-light to a new, as yet untitled film starring Pacino as Paterno, with Barry Levinson attached to direct.

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.

The official logline of the new movie 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.”

Screenwriter David McKenna, who was working on the project in 2012 and who has penned films including “American History X,” is one of three reported screenwriters on the new project, along with Debora Cahn (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The West Wing”) and John C. Richards (“Sahara, Nurse Betty”).

In addition to directing, Levinson will executive produce, along with Jason Sosnoff, Tom Fontana, Lindsay Sloane, Edward R. Pressman and Rick Nicita. Pressman and Nicita were executive producers on the original project announced in 2012. HBO will produce the film in association with Sony Pictures Television.

A report by ProjectCasting.com earlier this month said that HBO was ramping up production and that the film will shoot in New York City from July through September. Grant Wilfley Casting was looking for men and women ages 18-25 to portray college students in the movie.

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