First Image of Al Pacino as Joe Paterno in HBO's "Happy Valley" Movie

Starring Al Pacino, Kathy Baker, Riley Keough | based on the book 'Paterno' by Joe Posnanski

Al Pacino
Born: April 25, 1940
Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Joe Paterno
Born: December 21, 1926
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Death: January 22, 2012, State College, Pennsylvania, USA (lung cancer)
Kathy Baker
Born: June 8, 1950
Midland, Texas, USA
Sue Paterno
Born: February 14, 1940
Birthplace: Latrobe, Pennsylvania, USA

Joe Paterno's wife
Annie Parisse
Born: July 31, 1975
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Mary Kay Paterno
Born: January 13, 1965
Birthplace: USA
Greg Grunberg
Born: July 11, 1966
Los Angeles, California, USA
Scott Paterno
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, USA
Riley Keough
Born: May 29, 1989
Los Angeles, California, USA
Sara Ganim
Born: September 9, 1987
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, USA

Journalist who broke the abuse story

Questioning the Story:

Who will play Jerry Sandusky in the HBO Happy Valley movie?

Directed by Barry Levinson, the Happy Valley Joe Paterno movie also stars Riley Keough as Sara Ganim, the 23-year-old reporter who first broke the scandal. In doing so, she caught the attention of the national media and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work. In addition to the other cast members shown above, it is possible that John Carroll Lynch will be playing convicted child abuser Jerry Sandusky. Lynch was attached to the Happy Valley true story movie in 2014 when Brian DePalma was set to direct. DePalma dropped out after budget issues supposedly halted the production, and it is unclear whether Lynch will be returning. We'll update this page once the role of Sandusky has been confirmed.

Image of Al Pacino (left) portraying Joe Paterno (right) in the Barry Levinson HBO Happy Valley movie.

Who exactly is Jerry Sandusky?

Sandusky was the former long-time defensive coordinator for Penn State's football team under Coach Joe Paterno. He was indicted on 40 counts of child sex abuse, leading to a whirlwind of accusations as to why those who knew about it chose to do little or nothing. That included Coach Joe Paterno, portrayed by Al Pacino in the Happy Valley movie. Sandusky met the children he molested through the charity he started, The Second Mile, whose mission statement reads, "Providing Children with Help and Hope."

Is the HBO Happy Valley movie based on a book?

Yes. The Happy Valley Joe Paterno movie is based on Joe Posnanski's book Paterno, published in 2012. Posnanski is a former senior columnist for Sports Illustrated.

The HBO Joe Paterno movie is based on Joe Posnanski's book Paterno.

Does the movie have the support of the Paterno family?

In researching the Happy Valley true story, we learned that Joe Posnanski, author of the book on which the movie is based, had unrestricted access to Coach Paterno, his family, and his papers during the year that the Penn State sex abuse scandal was unfolding. It's hard to say if the family will support the HBO Happy Valley movie, but given that Posnanski's book largely focuses on the good deeds done by Paterno, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine them getting behind the movie.

Will the movie attempt to answer the question as to why Joe Paterno chose to turn a blind eye to child abuse?

Likely not. Paterno, the book on which the movie is based leaves this question unanswered and instead chooses to speak largely of Paterno's good deeds. Of course, it's not Paterno's good deeds that are in question, nor is anyone disputing them. The question that remains is what amount of greed, ignorance, and self-aggrandizement can cause someone, or a whole administration for that matter, to turn a blind eye to child molestation that they knew was going on for more than a decade and likely since the 1970s.

by Joe Posnanski