It’s not like he’s the most elusive person on the planet, but you don’t normally get someone like Al Pacino on a podcast. But in a recent episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” The Ringer got just that: a conversation with two Hollywood legends, Barry Levinson and Pacino, discussing their new HBO film, “Paterno.”
The director/actor pair have worked together twice before 2010’s HBO movie “You Don’t Know Jack” and 2014’s “The Humbling” an indie, as Levinson notes, barely found a release in the U.S. However, when you get two creators such as Levinson and Pacino, you end up talking about a variety of subjects that aren’t necessarily about their collaborative efforts. While there weren’t any monumental bombshells dropped over the course of the discussion, just hearing these two figures talking about their careers is well worth a listen.
“For me, you do films, but there’s certain themes that are interesting to you, and in terms of an actor,” Levinson said regarding on why he works so well with Pacino, “there’s a certain kind of courage to what Al will do – that he’ll try something, as opposed to, ‘I don’t know if I should do that.’ He’ll just try and we’ll keep playing around with things, and some things will evolve out of that. Maybe that wasn’t right, but maybe there’s another clue to something that’d be better. So, there’s an interaction…and I think we enjoy that experience in the story.”
Levinson discussed the upcoming HBO film, “Paterno,” which takes place in a two-week time frame in the disgraced Penn State Nittany Lions coach’s life. Pacino plays the titular coach, as he deals with the consequences of a sexual assault investigation involving one of his subordinate coaches.
The director commended the work ethic of the legendary actor by saying Pacino did “as much research as you can, today, without having the real person there, which is a real luxury.”
It wasn’t all Levinson, however. Pacino took some time to discuss the things you expect from the legendary actor. “The Godfather,” “Scarface,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Heat” (yes, Pacino and De Niro were together on the day of the scene, conspiracy theorists) and since it’s a sports podcast, they even discussed the possibility of “Any Given Sunday 2.” Pacino also talked about acting with Marlon Brando for the first time, working with different camera’s for different ages to play an aging Jimmy Hoffa, and a little bit about his upcoming Netflix film, “The Irishman,” from director Martin Scorsese.
If you’re a fan of sports films, or any film, for that matter, you owe it to yourself to give this podcast a listen.
Watch “Paterno” on HBO on April 7.