Let's just point out the elephant in the room, shall we? Al Pacino is one of the all time greats, but his recent work has been anything but. If he was anyone but Pacino, a story like this would be phrased as a hopeful, can he come back sort of piece ... but it's Al Pacino. You don't say those kinds of things, do you? Well, you can think it if you like, as The Hollywood Reporter says that Pacino is currently circling Barry Levinson's biopic on Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

I doubt there's anyone reading who doesn't remember who Dr. Kevorkian is. Known as Dr. Death, he assisted in more than 150 cases of suicide / euthanasia with his "Mercy Machine." After beating the Michigan court system for years, he was convicted of second degree murder after sending a tape of one euthanasia patient to 60 Minutes. He served eight years, and was released in 2007 on account of good behavior, and has been doing public appearances since. The media frenzy and emotional fury that surrounded him seems to have dissipated for the moment, but perhaps Levinson and HBO Films can stir it up again.

Levinson's film will trace Kevorkian's career as he builds his famous "Mercy Machine," conducts his first assisted suicide, and creates a firestorm with his advocacy for providing assisted suicide as "a medical service." It's the kind of role Pacino could really excel at ... but it's also something he could probably do in his sleep. So, is it promising? Predictable? The first step on the road back to exciting brilliance? You be the judge.