“You’re seeing a reporter that’s a little bit more green and hasn’t been doing this for a long time,” Golden Globe-nominated actress Riley Keough says in an interview with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above) about her role in “Paterno.” The HBO film directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson depicts the fallout in 2011 of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, splitting its time being scenes featuring Oscar winner Al Pacino as disgraced university football coach Joe Paterno and scenes featuring Keough as Sara Ganim, the tough young reporter who would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the story. Keough “really wanted” the part and explains, “You’ve got this young woman who’s going up against this incredibly powerful group of men, which, of course, is interesting to play.”
In playing a real person, Keough admits, “It’s definitely strange because you feel pressure to do it right.” Ganim herself served as a consultant on the film, to which Keough says, “Sara was very much involved, so that was helpful because you have somebody there to bounce things off of and you don’t have to make every decision by yourself.”
Keough notes that “as a performer,” she asks about her characters, “Where’s the internal conflict within to make it dramatic?” She notes that this method did not apply to playing the headstrong Ganim. Keough explains, “She knew she was doing the right thing and never wavered or doubted herself or had a conflict. She knew what she wanted and went for it and there wasn’t a lot of questioning.”
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