A Roslyn High School alumnus who is a Hollywood screenwriter is producing a film about the early 2000s Roslyn Public Schools corruption scandal that stars Hugh Jackman as the embezzling Superintendent Frank Tassone, according to Variety.
The film, written by Mike Makowsky and called “Bad Education,” has begun production in New York and, according to Newsday, is slated for a 2019 release date. The team plans to film in Long Island, according to Newsday.
The cast also features Allison Janney, Ray Romano and Geraldine Viswanathan (“Blockers”), according to Variety.
Makowsky is producing alongside Fred Berger (“La La Land”), Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev and Oren Moverman. Cory Finley (“Thoroughbreds”) is directing.
“It was a story that I’d always been fascinated with, and at a certain point it felt like it would be exciting to try to write it down on paper,” Makoswky said in an April interview with The Blognonian, a student publication at Brown University, his alma mater. “It’s crazy because you don’t necessarily think that the stuff that you’re interested in – the esoterica about your hometown – is going to translate to anything bigger.”
Tassone was sentenced to prison in 2006 for embezzling millions of dollars of school funds and using them for personal expenses, including vacations and gambling. At least 29 people participated in the scheme that took $11.2 million from the schools, according to NBC.
News reports from the time detail how Tassone had gained the trust and respect of Roslyn residents during his tenure, leaving them dumbfounded and betrayed by the person the state discovered he was.
“The seemingly monastic bachelor who had an old wedding photo on a shelf in his office —and spoke wistfully of the young woman he married who died of cancer — turned out, it appears, to be living with one man in Manhattan while owning a house in Las Vegas with a 32-year-old male exotic dancer,” Robert Kolker wrote in New York magazine in 2004. “Now, at the start of a new school year, parents are left wondering what, if anything, was real about the man who won their trust and made their schools the envy of Long Island.”
Makowsky’s script was included on The Black List in 2016, an annual list of screenplays for unproduced films most liked among film executives.
Additional cast members, newly announced by Variety, include Ray Abruzzo, Peter Appel, Annaleigh Ashford, Rafael Casal (“Blindspotting”), Catherine Curtin, Hari Dhillon, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Kathrine Narducci, Jeremy Shamos, Stephen Spinella, Jimmy Tatro, Welker White and Alex Wolff (“Hereditary”).
Makowsky has written two feature films that have been released. “I Think We’re Alone Now” a post-apocalyptic film starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Netflix hosts his comedy “Take Me.”
Makowsky graduated from Roslyn High School in 2009 and Brown in 2013.