The first time Hugh Jackman won an Emmy was for hosting the Tonys. He says he didn’t even know there was a category for that, and was so convinced he wouldn’t win he didn’t prepare a speech. In fact he did win, and based on that experience he says he will at least have something ready in case he does grab the Emmy this time for a richly acclaimed performance in HBO’s Bad Education, for which he has his first acting Emmy nom as Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
Jackman had no idea this film would take him to the Emmys when he was making it but is pleased now that it landed on television, as he told me during an interview during Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees all-day event.
“I love there is an equal playing field. When we were making it I thought it was a film, but when we went to the Toronto Film Festival, it wound up being picked up by a very enthusiastic HBO,” he said. “In the end you just want whoever is putting the movie out to believe in it. I think the way it turned out in the end has been amazing — lot more people have seen it,“ he added, noting the large audience Bad Education has drawn as people are quarantined because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jackman said when he read the script — all based on the true story of the largest school scandal in U.S. history, and in which he plays a Long Island superintendent Frank Tassone, who went to prison for embezzlement — he thought no one would believe it if it hadn’t really happened.
“You’ve got a very successful, very well-liked person doing something that doesn’t make sense,” he said. “How does it escalate? How do 26 people in this school end up getting charged for the biggest scandal in public school history? It is a cautionary tale on how we can convince ourselves something is right just because it suits us,” he said.
Check out the video above, and click here to watch all of Sunday’s Contenders TV panels.