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In BAD EDUCATION, Hugh Jackman Scams a School System
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It’s pretty hard to be a movie fan and not love Hugh Jackman. He’s been in every genre, from comics books to fantasy to musicals, taking on characters like Wolverine and Van Helsing. Now, his new role in a true-crime drama will prove he’s one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood. HBO released the first teaser for its upcoming film Bad Education, which premieres April 25.

Jackman stars as Frank Tassone, the District Superintendent of the Roslyn, Long Island school district opposite Allison Janney’s Pam Gluckin, a former business administrator for the district. Tassone’s goal is to make the district’s test scores better to increase Ivy League acceptance and cause a positive ripple effect for the community. He succeeds in making the students successful and ranking among the best scores in America… but it all goes up in scandalous smoke.

The clip doesn’t give away too much information outside of Tassone’s basic goal and a quick glance at a few main characters. However, the peek does include a few glowing media reviews from its TIFF premiere. But it’s not hard to guess where this story will go because Frank Tassone is a real person. According to Vanity Fair, the charismatic leader joined the school district in the early ‘90s and won the hearts of parents and students alike.

Tassone indeed increased test scores and made the district a national standout but, in 2004, he was arrested for first-degree larceny to the tune of $11.2 million. The details of his double life began to spill out to the press, including his lies about being a widower, million-dollar vacations, a swanky Upper East side apartment, and a generally baller lifestyle despite issues with Roslyn High School’s infrastructure. Tassone was able to fund his lifestyle from tax payers, who were more than willing to pay up to ensure a great educational system.

It was also revealed that the district’s former business administrator Pam Gluckin took several million dollars to renovate her home in the Hamptons and purchase Jet Skis. The New York Times reports that her renovations sparked the entire downfall after a Home Depot clerk became suspicious of a purchase. The cashier called Roslyn officials after a man came into her Selden store to purchase construction materials for an address outside of the school district. The buyer, John McCormick, was Gluckin’s son.

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Long Island Press reported in 2010 that Frank Tassone and five others pleaded guilty in 2006 for stealing school district funds. Tassone was released the same year due to good behavior and is not involved in the making of Bad Education. Gluckin was released in May 2011 and went on to work for a non-profit organization in Queens. Interestingly, the screenplay was written by Mike Makowsky, a former Roslyn student who met Tassone when he was six.

Bad Education will certainly add some dramatic elements along the way, however, the real-life backstory itself has plenty of entertainment value. Any tale featuring a beloved figure with duplicitous ways, betrayal, and all-out scammery is due to be a wild ride. And, when you add Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney to lead the way, it pretty much becomes must-see TV for true crime fans.

Image Credit: Chris Chapman