The educators and administrators in Cory Finley’s Bad Education aren’t actually bad at their jobs—a few of them just serve as bad examples for students in the Long Island school district. As school superintendent Frank Tassone, Hugh Jackman has a lesson plan for embezzling and for keeping his district in top academic standing. Tassone has a more than willing accomplice in Pam Gluckin, played with typical wiliness by Allison Janney. But all it takes for their misappropriation to be exposed is the tenacity of one perceptive teen (Geraldine Viswanathan, continuing to make great choices in projects).
This new trailer focuses on Frank and Pam’s closeness, which developed before or after they started funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school budget into their own pockets. In real life, Tassone was a dedicated school official, though that didn’t keep him from diverting resources. Screenwriter Mike Makowsky, who was a student at one of the schools Tassone oversaw, offers a nuanced characterization of Tassone, which is made all the more gripping by Jackman’s performance. As our own A.A. Dowd noted after seeing Bad Education at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, Tassone is a “pathological compartmentalizer, somehow capable of squaring his genuine, inspiring commitment as an educator with his vanity and secretly pursued self-interests.”
HBO picked up the rights to Bad Education in 2019, and will be premiering the dark comedy on April 25. The Television Academy recently had to push the dates on For Your Consideration campaigning for the Emmys, but whenever it kicks off, you can expect Janney and especially Jackman to be a part of the conversation.