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HBO buys 'Bad Education,' Roslyn school-scandal drama, reports say

Actor Hugh Jackman, left, plays disgraced Roslyn schools

Actor Hugh Jackman, left, plays disgraced Roslyn schools Superintendent Frank Tassone. Credit: Composite: Invision / AP / Charles Sykes, left; Howard Schnapp

“Bad Education,” a drama starring Hugh Jackman as disgraced Roslyn schools Superintendent Frank Tassone, has been sold to HBO, according to Deadline and Variety.

The film was written by Mike Makowsky, who was a Roslyn schools student while the Tassone scandal unfolded in the early 2000s, and was shot partly on Long Island. It stars Allison Janney as assistant superintendent for business Pam Gluckin, who was sentenced to 3 to 9 years for her role in Tassone's multimillion-dollar embezzlement scheme, and Ray Romano as faculty member Bob Spicer. Geraldine Viswanathan ("Blockers") plays a student who breaks the story at her newspaper.

"Bad Education," directed by Cory Finley, received strong reviews after its premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Variety's Peter Debruge called the film one of the festival’s best, reserving particular praise for Jackman, who he wrote, “delivers an acting master class, trading on his charismatic star persona to reveal the rotten core of bad-apple superintendent Frank Tassone.”

The movie seemed poised to benefit from new attention on school corruption in the wake of accusations against Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin in a college admissions scandal. Nevertheless, a distribution deal didn’t materialize by festival's end. The purchase by HBO is a coup for the independently produced film, which was sold for a reported $17.5 million, according to Deadline, but also robs it of a prestigious theatrical release and removes it from consideration for this year's Academy Awards.

Tassone was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison in 2006 and was released in 2010, a little more than eight months earlier than his minimum sentence.

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