Al Pacino’s racked up awards through the decades in famous roles as Michael Corleone, Frank Serpico, and Tony Montana, but ahead of his debut as Joe Paterno in the upcoming HBO film, he’s still learning the role of the former Penn State coach.
“I don’t know anything about Joe Paterno,” Pacino said during HBO’s presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, according to Philly.com. “I know about the character I played in the movie and that character was as close to a savant as I’d ever played.”
Pacino has been linked to the role for several years, well before HBO confirmed the film would happen. In our brief glimpse of Paterno, which will be released in the spring, the actor seemingly has the all-time winningest coach’s iconic raspy voice nailed down much better than the film’s rendition of the now-removed statue.
“The question isn’t just what he knew, it’s what he did about it. I think he knew there were complaints. He knew there were rumors,” Pacino said, according to IndieWire.
However, the actor’s follow-up comments suggest the film won’t say too much about the coach’s culpability.
“He did act upon it,” Pacino said. “He did say he thought someone should look into this. A guy like Paterno — he’s like an emperor, he’s like a king. He didn’t take up with it because it was out of his control. And I think this is a character who’s used to control.”