Al Pacino on HBO’s Joe Paterno Movie: ‘The Question Isn’t Just What He Knew, It’s What He Did About It’

Al Pacino isn’t exactly unfamiliar with playing historical figures, so far be it from us or anyone to tell him how to prepare for a role. If the Oscar-winning actor — who was Emmy-nominated for playing Phil Spector and won the award for portraying Roy Cohn —  doesn’t need to go to the Penn St. University campus to prepare for his role as disgraced college football coach Joe Paterno, he doesn’t have to.

“I didn’t go,” Pacino said, speaking via satellite during HBO’s TCA presentation Thursday afternoon. “I did see the documentary ‘Happy Valley.’ […] These things really happened, and as an actor, it makes you feel credible. […] You have the real person to digest and sort of channel.”

How fitting it feels to use Amir Bar-Lev’s 2014 film as a basis of information for the upcoming scripted HBO film, “Paterno.” Covering the two-week period between the story of Jerry Sandusky’s sex abuse scandal breaking and Paterno’s termination from Penn St., Barry Levinson’s upcoming movie studies not only what Paterno knew about his defensive coordinator’s misconduct, but how he responded.

“The question isn’t just what he knew, it’s what he did about it,” Pacino said. “I think he knew there were complaints. He knew there were rumors. […] I don’t think he was very fond of Sandusky, for whatever reasons — I think there were other reasons.”

Pacino, who said he thought Paterno was already depressed even before the scandal broke, was quick to point out the coach’s culpability remains unclear.

“He did act upon it,” Paterno said. “He did say he thought someone should look into this. [But] 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.”

Sara Ganim, who won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Penn St. scandal, worked as a consultant on the series and was in attendance for the panel. She says the scandal is still being felt in the campus town of Happy Valley.

“[Paterno’s legacy is] still a hotly debated topic,” Ganim said, after being asked about how local Penn St. fans feel about the coach today. “Unfortunately […] it is a gray area for a lot of people. It’s not known one way or another what people knew.”

Levinson said the movie isn’t going to take a stand one way or another.

“I think at the end of the day there will be people who believe [Paterno knew about the abuse] and there will be people who don’t,” Levinson said.

The film marks Pacino’s fourth collaboration with HBO, following “Phil Spector,” “You Don’t Know Jack,” and “Angels in America.” Levinson directed Pacino in “Spector” and executive produced “You Don’t Know Jack.” He’s also coming off the Emmy-nominated HBO film starring Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies,” which examined Bernie Madoff.

“Paterno” is slated to debut in the spring of 2018. Take a look at new photos below.

Paterno Al Pacino as Joe Paterno on set with director Barry Levinson HBO Movie

Al Pacino and Barry Levinson on the set of “Paterno”

Paterno HBO Riley Keough

Riley Keough in “Paterno”

Paterno HBO Kathy Baker, Al Pacino

Kathy Baker and Al Pacino in “Paterno.”

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Dan Harmon Delivers a ‘Masterclass in How to Apologize,’ and the Women He Wronged Wants You to Listen

“Here’s a weird one for you,” tweeted former “Community” writer Megan Ganz this morning. “Last week, I called out my former boss @danharmon for sexual harassment, and today I’m going to ask you to listen to his podcast.” The reason she wants you to tune in? Harmon delivered what Ganz describes as “a masterclass in How to Apologize,” and she forgives him. Listen here and skip to just after the 18-minute mark if you’d like to hear the apology.

“He’s not rationalizing or justifying or making excuses,” Ganz added. “He doesn’t just vaguely acknowledge some general wrongdoing in the past. He gives a full account.”

“I did it by not thinking about it, and I got away with it by not thinking about it. If she hadn’t mentioned something on Twitter, I would have continued to not have to think about it,” Harmon says on the podcast, adding that, “if you don’t think about it, you’re going to get away with not thinking about it, and you can cause a lot of damage that is technically legal, and hurts everybody.”

“This was never about vengeance; it’s about vindication,” Ganz clarified in a subsequent tweet. “That’s why it didn’t feel right to just accept his apology in private (although I did that, too). Because if any part of this process should be done in the light, it’s the forgiveness part. And so, @danharmon, I forgive you.”

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‘Altered Carbon’ Official Trailer: ‘Blade Runner’ Meets ‘Minority Report’ in Netflix’s Futuristic New Series

Joel Kinnaman is already a member of the Netflix family as a supporting actor on “House of Cards,” but he’s getting the chance to lead his very own Netflix original series thanks to “Altered Carbon. The futuristic drama ranks as one of the streaming giant’s most ambitious offerings yet.

“Altered Carbon” is set in a distant future where human consciousness can be digitized and downloaded into different bodies. After spending 250 years dead, the consciousness of ex-soldier Takeshi Kovacs (Will Yun Lee) is put into a new body (Joel Kinnaman). The new Kovacs is tasked with solving the murder of the billionaire Laurens Bancroft, whose consciousness now lives in a man that looks just like James Purefoy. Should Kovans fail to solve the murder, he’ll be killed.

If it all sounds like Netflix’s answer to both “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report,” well you’re not too far off. “Altered Carbon” beings streaming on Netflix starting February 2. Watch the official trailer below.

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Why Todd Haynes and Ed Lachman Are the Most Important Collaboration in Cinema

It is sometimes hard to remember how young a medium moving pictures are compared to other art forms. When taking into account how films incorporate sound, music, movement, color, composition, design, visual effects, acting and narrative, the possibilities can seem overwhelming. Yet we live in a time when too often the films that fill our theaters feel derivative.

“Godard once said to me, ‘you know why all films look alike?’” said cinematographer Ed Lachman in an interview with IndieWire. “He said, ‘Because they have a 1000 foot magazine [the light-tight chamber that holds film stock]. If they were only a 100 foot magazine, films would look different.’ I understand what he was saying. The means that we have today in the digital world we can shoot forever, that’s going to change how we use our shots.”

How the filmmaking tools of different eras shaped those movies is something Lachman and director Todd Haynes study and research like historians while preparing to shoot their own films. And what’s fascinating about the collaborators’ period work is that in their conscience effort to mirror the tools, mode of production and visual language of their story’s era, they end up creating something incredibly exciting and new.

“I think what period films do in general – and what I think I probably as a director take further – is it puts up a frame around the story,” said Haynes in an interview with IndieWire. Haynes wants to call attention to the filmmaking apparatus and force the viewer to be conscience of his relationship to the past on screen, while at the same time participate in the emotion of the story. “To me that’s the sweet spot in great movies, is that you aren’t emotionally neutered, you’re also not just intellectual, both things are happening.”

"Far From Heaven"

“Far From Heaven”

With “Far From Heaven,” Haynes first collaboration with Lachman, the cinematographer allowed the director to apply these ideas and approach on a far bigger, richer and cinematically believable canvas. For “Heaven,” Haynes wanted to use the language of Douglas Sirk’s 1950s technicolor melodramas, but while shooting on location in the modern suburbs of New Jersey. Somehow, Lachman nailed the look of an overhead grid light scheme of the old sound stages (despite working with 10-foot domestic ceilings), a dazzling saturated color palette (despite the limitation of 2002 film stock) and even found a way to control the sun to give the exteriors a backlot feel. Haynes wasn’t just able to reference Sirk, he could step into his shoes and create the gorgeous images from a different era.

In preproduction, Lachman becomes like a foresic scientist dissecting older films and locating the tools to recreate them. For their latest collaboration, “Wonderstruck,” half the film is set in New York in the early 70s. In his prep, Lachman unearthed the lenses, dollies and talked to cinematographer Owen Roizman to figure out how exactly he shot “The French Connection,” which was a principal reference point for “Wonderstruck.”

“Everybody in Hollywood right now is into the 70s because there was a certain experimentation, a freedom of the story telling in Hollywood at that moment, but what I remember distinctly about those films is they were sort of ugly and had this different color balance,” said Lachman. “So I did some research and discovered many of the larger films were shot on Kodak, but for cost savings they were printing it on Fuji print stock and I found many of those films had a green, magenta balance in the shadow and the highlights had a tendency to go green. So I played with shooting tungsten film outdoors, and only partially correcting it, then I’d do the same thing using outdoor film indoors.”



Ed Lachman

The result is footage that looks and feels like stock footage from the era. There is zero sense of a painted on period feel. Haynes frame becomes this magical world where the viewer enters the emotional and visual world of the young boy wandering the foreboding streets of the economically depressed city in the ’70s, but through the gritty filmmaking of the era.

“Todd understands how cinematic language is used as a mirror of the society and he creates images that give emotional context to the story, which different than just creating period style and not connecting it to the narrative like so many films do,” said Lachman. “What Todd is so brilliant about is he goes deeper into understanding why it was created that way, and that becomes the essence of the images. You can intellectualize it, but it has to be felt emotionally.”

Whereas most directors and cinematographers have distinct and individual styles, Lachman and Haynes enjoy creatively figuring out how to visually tell their story by adapting the visual language of the period. Once the forensic and research part of the job is over, Lachman, the rare cinematographer with a fine arts background, transitions into using the instincts of a painter.

“It just sounds so silly and banal, but Ed is such an artist and he’s such an art nerd,” said Haynes. “We both love the image, we love collecting the references, watching the movies, thinking of photography and painting and just purely a visual relevance to what we’re doing, but this is of course in a way the most non-intellectual part because it’s purely about color and form and composition. It’s beyond maybe even narrative emotion, because it’s sometimes just gut emotion where you respond to a warm palette over a cool palette, or maybe something we end up going to a lot, the combination of a warm and cool palette, so you feel almost the friction between warm and cold.”



Ed Lachman

Haynes jokes he once in awhile on set needs to remind Lachman where they are in a scene, because the cinematographer dives straight into color and form in the most abstract sense. Haynes adds, after a beat, “He really is like a painter, more so than any other cinematographer I’ve ever met.”

The other half of “Wonderstruck” is set in the 1920s, for which Lachman adapted the formalism, composed images and chiaroscuro lighting of the late masterpieces of silent film. But when it came to the 1970s he wanted the urgency in the images and the feeling of the city in movies of that era. It that sense, like he would with an actor, Haynes put Lachman in situations where he would get a certain performance.

“Todd put me and the camera operator in situations where we have to respond,” said Lachman. “A lot of the time we shot two cameras.  So you aren’t over manipulating the image to create the image. Almost like a documentarian, you’re letting the camera respond to the performance, so that has a certain roughness or rawness to it. He accessed the character’s subjectivity and emotional state through the filmmaking of the era.”



Ed Lachman

For Lachman, Haynes creates a framework that allows him to constantly experiment with the medium and push himself in utilizing every skill and painterly instinct he possesses. Lachman, on the other hand, enables Haynes to fully execute his ideas about storytelling by transporting the director to a rich and authentic cinematic palette of the past. The result are films that use form in ways are as emotionally poetic as they are thought provoking.

“Ed is a lover of what he does and he’s just essentialist, really, although he studies,” said Haynes. “I think we both always feel like we are studying as we’re also passionate.”

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Bring EdCamps To Africa To Build Collaboration and Connectedness

Kiswahili [another term for Swahili] the proverb “Asiyefunzwa na mamae hufunzwa na ulimwengu,” shares the responsibility of the community (village), or town or city to raise/educate children. The exposure to educational strategies, concepts, best practices and the application of diverse technologies can sometimes seem challenging when the infrastructure is still being built. Collaboration with educators is challenged when the basic […]

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