ByDavid Rodemerk, writer at Creators.co
Watched HBO and Cinemax as a little kid before "binge-watching" was even a thing! Mom called me a TV Guide with diapers. Twitter @filmigos
David Rodemerk

Before we see Al Pacino take on the role of infamous American labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa in Martin Scorsese's next project, The Irishman, Pacino will be stepping into the shoes of another real-life figure, this time a fellow Italian-American. The veteran actor is about to tackle the role of Penn State's late former coach, Joe Paterno.

The as-yet-untitled HBO film, directed by Barry Levinson, will focus on the winningest coach in college history as he becomes entangled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Here's your first look at Pacino as Paterno:

Al Pacino as Joe Paterno [Credit: HBO]
Al Pacino as Joe Paterno [Credit: HBO]

This is not the first time has played some characters from history who had been embroiled in scandal. Here's a list of four other real-life people Pacino has portrayed:

1. Jack Kevorkian - 'You Don't Know Jack' (2010)

'You Don't Know Jack' [Credit: HBO]
'You Don't Know Jack' [Credit: HBO]

In 2010, Pacino took on the role of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the doctor who ignited the debate about one of the most controversial ethical medical issues of our time: euthanasia. You Don't Know Jack, also directed by Barry Levinson, examined both sides of ending a patient's life in the reality of an incurable disease or terminal illness. Pacino really shone as he displayed Kevorkian's egomaniacal drive to change how the medical field needs to deal with patients in these extreme circumstances. His portrayal of Dr. Kevorkian earned him both an Emmy and a Golden Globe award.

2. Phil Spector - 'Phil Spector' (2013)

'Phil Spector' [Credit: HBO]
'Phil Spector' [Credit: HBO]

Phil Spector, based on the life of record producer, songwriter and musician, delved into the relationship between him and his defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden (portrayed by Helen Mirren) while he was on trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson. David Mamet wrote and directed, while Al Pacino played the titular character and demonstrated the weird and erratic behavior shown by Spector later on his life. Spector was convicted of Clarkson’s murder in 2009 in a second trial. Pacino once again received an Emmy and and Golden Globe nomination for his role.

3. Lowell Bergman - 'The Insider' (1999)

'The Insider' [Credit: Touchstone Pictures]
'The Insider' [Credit: Touchstone Pictures]

In 1999, Al Pacino played Lowell Bergman in The Insider, which was adapted from the article "The Man Who Knew Too Much" by journalist Marie Brenner. Bergman was a television news producer who helped biochemist and whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) expose a massive conspiracy by the tobacco industry to add harmful carcinogens, like ammonia, to its cigarette blends to enhance the effects of nicotine in order to hook people further. Pacino went deep into this character to show the struggle of reporting a story this big while keeping Wigand safe. It was the second time Al Pacino had worked with director Michael Mann, having previously worked with Mann on the heist film, Heat.

4. Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero - 'Donnie Brasco' (1997)

'Donnie Brasco' [Credit: Mandalay Entertainment]
'Donnie Brasco' [Credit: Mandalay Entertainment]

Fuhgeddaboutit, Pacino went full gangster in 1997's Donnie Brasco where he played the aging mafia hitman Lefty Ruggiero. The story focused on FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone (Johnny Depp) as he goes undercover as mobster Donnie Brasco to infiltrate the Bonanno crime family in New York City during the 1970s. Fun fact: Pacino, who never met Ruggiero in real life, decided to wear a hat and tracksuits as part of his costume, but the real Pistone said that Lefty was a sharp dresser and never wore a hat. Who is going to argue with Al Pacino? The movie ended up getting an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Al Pacino might be best known for his role as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, but his acting diversity goes well beyond the mafia genre. Pacino's ability to delve deep in these controversial characters only proves that he's one of the best actors in the business.

So what do you think of the first look at Al Pacino as Joe Paterno? Leave your comments below.

(Source: Variety, MovieFone)

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