mostlycloudy
Tuesday October 23rd, 2018 7:47AM

"Paterno" movie a polarizing story with unanswered questions

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

"Paterno" aims to tell the polarizing story of a legend's fall, when the most essential question can never be answered.

The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts Saturday and stars Oscar winner Al Pacino as Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose career ended in scandal.

The movie chronicles a two-week stretch during the fall of 2011, starting with Penn State beating Illinois for the record 409th victory of Paterno's career through the arrest of former longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to the first game played by Penn State after Paterno was fired.

The charges against Sandusky, who is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for sexual abuse of 10 boys, led to questions about what Paterno knew about Sandusky.

"You're dealing with certain issues that are never going to be totally explained," Levinson told the AP recently.

Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after he was fired on Nov. 9, 2011. He died January 22, 2012, at age 85.

Levinson said he was drawn to the story because of its Shakespearean qualities. Paterno coached Penn State for 46 seasons and built a virtually impeccable reputation as not just a Hall of Fame coach but also as an educator and humanitarian, Levinson said.

"What is this man and what are these contradictions?" Levinson said.

Levinson said research for the film came from Joe Posnanski's book "Paterno," Paterno's son and former assistant coach Jay Paterno's book "Paterno Legacy," plus news reports. Sara Ganim, the former reporter for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the Sandusky scandal, was a consultant on the film.

Posnanski was working on a biography of Paterno, coincidentally, at the time of the Sandusky scandal and often had access to private discussions of the Paterno family.

Two Penn State administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz — also portrayed in the film — pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment charges in 2017, leading prosecutors to drop three felony charges of child endangerment and conspiracy.

The school's former president, Graham Spanier, went to trial and was convicted by a jury of misdemeanor child endangerment, but is free on bail while he appeals. At sentencing, he said he regretted that he "did not intervene more forcefully."

Paterno was never charged. In the movie, Pacino portrays the coach as somewhat disinterested in initial reports of Sandusky's arrest and the indictment against him, and then confused as to why it would involve him. As the story erupts into national news and engulfs Penn State and Paterno over the course of three days, Pacino portrays the coach as being so focused on football that he failed to take stronger action when a young assistant coach complained to him about Sandusky's encounter with a boy in a team shower years earlier.

When asked by a state prosecutor during 2011 grand jury testimony what the assistant, Mike McQueary, told him, Paterno replied that he said Sandusky "was fondling, whatever you might call it — I'm not sure what the term would be — a young boy."

Supporters of Paterno still feel as if his reputation was unfairly tarnished by the Sandusky scandal, while others are staunch in their belief that Paterno shares blame.

Levinson was not looking to change minds.

"This is not a courtroom. You can embrace it. You can watch and not necessarily agree," he said. "I'm laying this out in this particular fashion without a particular agenda to it."

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

___

More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, College Sports, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
London struggles to fight crime spike, murders soar in 2018
Israel Ogunsola, 18, became London's 53rd murder victim this year as the British capital is being shaken by a spike in deadly violence
12:29PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Convicted British man tries to pin 1986 killings on cartel
British man convicted of killings during the height of Miami's cocaine wars maintains his innocence, tries to pin crime on drug cartel
12:27PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Some say teachers risk losing support as walkout continues
Some say teachers in Oklahoma risk losing public support the longer their walkout goes
12:26PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Lue returns to coaching Cavaliers after health scare
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue returns to sideline after chest pains prompted medical leave
12:02PM ( 47 minutes ago )
"Paterno" movie a polarizing story with unanswered questions
"Paterno" aims to tell the polarizing story of a legend's fall, when the most essential question can never be answered
11:53AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Philadelphia cheers NCAA champs Villanova with parade
Thousands of fans lined up in Philadelphia to celebrate another sports championship with a parade, this time for Villanova University's Wildcats
11:51AM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP Sports
School shooting threat made on Patriots' player's Instagram
A social media message to New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has led police to a teenager who posted a threat about shooting up his school
5:21PM ( 19 hours ago )
Costas: NFL faces day of reckoning because of head injuries
Bob Costas isn't backing down on his belief that the NFL faces a day of reckoning on the issue of brain injuries, and talks about the one event he wishes he had been able to broadcast on the "AP Sports Weekly" Podcast
9:45AM ( 1 day ago )
Saban: The show will go on despite LeBron James complaint
Alabama coach Nick Saban isn't scrapping a program that drew a complaint from LeBron James
11:19PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Philadelphia to cheer NCAA champs Villanova with parade
Philadelphia is getting the chance to celebrate yet another sports championship with a parade, this time for Villanova University's Wildcats
12:02AM ( 12 hours ago )
WNBA coaches, GMs tab A'ja Wilson for top pick in mock draft
A'ja Wilson likely first pick in the WNBA draft next week, according to panel of coaches and general managers
9:53AM ( 1 day ago )
Raptors-Celtics, Cavs-76ers are big East games this week
Philadelphia wants to open its first playoff series at home
9:43AM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Bollywood star Salman Khan gets 5 years for poaching deer
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has been convicted in a 20-year-old poaching case and sentenced to five years in prison
11:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
Lou Diamond Phillips pleads guilty to drunk driving in Texas
Actor Lou Diamond Phillips has been banned from drinking alcohol for two years after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated in Texas
9:59AM ( 2 hours ago )
Bill Cosby's retrial jury mirrors first on gender, race
The jury picked to decide Bill Cosby's fate in the first big trial of the #MeToo era mirrors the gender and racial makeup of the group that deadlocked in last year's trial
9:17AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Bollywood star Salman Khan convicted in poaching case
Bollywood star Salman Khan has been convicted in a 20-year-old poaching case and sentenced to 5 years in prison
5:06AM ( 7 hours ago )
Propelled by China, overseas moviegoing surges
Propelled by growth in China, global moviegoing reached a record high of $40.6 billion in 2017 despite a downturn in audiences at U.S. and Canada theaters
3:52PM ( 20 hours ago )
'Avengers: Infinity War' directors, Downey ask for secrecy
Actor Robert Downey Jr. is joining the directors of "Avengers: Infinity War" in calling for fans to maintain secrecy
12:09PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Movies News
Believe the hype! Penn State tops Utah for NIT championship
Shep Garner hit the 3-pointer that brought cousin Flavor Flav to his feet and helped bring Penn State an NIT championship in an 82-66 win over Utah
10:41AM ( 6 days ago )
APNewsBreak: Key design change stymied bridge cost, schedule
Documents obtained by The Associated Press show construction of the pedestrian bridge that collapsed and killed six people in the Miami area was behind schedule and millions over budget
7:10PM ( 2 weeks ago )
DeVoe, Clemson rout cold-shooting Auburn to reach Sweet 16
Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and Elijah Thomas had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Clemson, which closed the first half with a 25-4 run that helped it beat cold-shooting Auburn 84-53 and advance to the Midwest Region semifinal
10:40PM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Sports - College Football
London struggles to fight crime spike, murders soar in 2018
Israel Ogunsola, 18, became London's 53rd murder victim this year as the British capital is being shaken by a spike in deadly violence
12:29PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Convicted British man tries to pin 1986 killings on cartel
British man convicted of killings during the height of Miami's cocaine wars maintains his innocence, tries to pin crime on drug cartel
12:27PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Some say teachers risk losing support as walkout continues
Some say teachers in Oklahoma risk losing public support the longer their walkout goes
12:26PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Cell phone found where SUV plunged off California cliff
Another search for three children missing after their family's SUV plunged off a Northern California cliff has turned up no sign of them
12:24PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Father of man shot by NYPD says he was ill, but harmless
The father of a man killed by police officers in Brooklyn said his son was bipolar and wasn't taking his medication, but was not dangerous and didn't deserve to die
12:14PM ( 36 minutes ago )