ED PRESSMAN: MCKENNA HAS COMPLETED A TREATMENT, DE PALMA EXCITED
Ed Pressman recently sat down with Huffington Post's Rob Taub to discuss Happy Valley, the Joe Paterno film he is producing for Brian De Palma to direct, with Al Pacino starring. Taub's article originally stated that Frank Langella will portray Jerry Sandusky, who will be a major part of the film. However, by the next day (June 19, 2013), the article had been revised and Langella's name had been removed. A source says that Langella is one of several actors currently under consideration for the part of Sandusky. In any case, Taub writes that Pressman "is a bit cagey" on what exactly the film will cover. "People know the horror of Sandusky's acts," writes Taub, "and are aware of Paterno's complicity, but based on my conversation with Pressman, this film will give audiences a clear understanding of Sandusky's rise to power in the Penn State program and exactly how it brought about Paterno's demise." Pressman is quoted as saying, "It's a complex story." Taub adds that David McKenna has completed a treatment for the film. Here is an excerpt from Taub's article that includes a Paterno anecdote uncovered by McKenna, as well as a quote from Pressman about De Palma:
I have a few friends who were recruited by and played for Paterno, so when Pressman and I sat down recently to discuss the project we swapped JoePa stories. Screenwriter McKenna has compiled many anecdotes and tales about Paterno and one story that struck Pressman was when Paterno took his two daughters to a restaurant where one ordered a la carte while the other chose the buffet. The daughter who ordered a la carte reached over and took a pickle from her sister who had ordered buffet. This made Paterno so furious that he stormed out of the restaurant and had to drive his car around the block in order to calm down.
College coaches -- even the good ones -- have the power of third world despots and come to enjoy the authority and control provided by their positions. Pressman certainly understands this and describes Paterno's story as a "Greek tragedy." His past experience in handling films with scandalous characters has worked out well, as he proved with Reversal of Fortune, where they told Claus Von Bulow's story from the perspective of the victim -- his wife, Sunny. According to Pressman, the Paterno story poses similar challenges, but nothing they can't handle. "It's been many years since I've seen Brian (De Palma) so excited," said Pressman.