It has been almost 25 years since Reese Witherspoon starred in one of her most iconic roles as Tracy Flick in Alexander Payne’s Election, an adaptation of Tom Perotta’s novel of the same name which followed the ambitious over-achiever Tracy running for student president while Matthew Broderick stars as a high school teacher dead set on ruining her chances for success. Last year brought news Witherspoon and Payne would reunite to adapt Perotta’s recently published sequel Tracy Flick Can’t Win for Paramount+, but there has not been any more news until now.
Payne sat down for an interview with Collider and was asked about the sequel, which he is co-writing with his Election screenwriter and frequent collaborator Jim Taylor. He revealed everyone wants to make Tracy Flick Can’t Win, but it is all a matter of timing and busy schedules that might make it a while before it is brought to screen.
“Tom Perotta, who wrote the book Election, has written a very fine sequel, and Reese Witherspoon and I have talked about it. And Jim Taylor and I, my co-writer, have talked about doing it. But we just haven’t gotten to it yet,” Payne said. “It’s only because everything takes a while, and I have a couple things to do before that. We’ll just see how it falls. It would be lovely to do.”
On the possibility of reuniting with Witherspoon, making this their first project together since Election, Payne said “I’d love to work with Reese. That’s another actor that I’ve been dying to work with for all these years is Reese Witherspoon. We’re always throwing each other flowers and asking when we’re gonna work together again. So, there’s a structure in place for us to do that, but I just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. It’s kind of up to me. I just have some other stuff before, on my docket.”
Witherspoon herself is quite busy as she stars in Apple TV+’s comedy series The Morning Show and is also set to reprise another of her iconic roles in Legally Blonde 3, though that film is not anywhere near production either.
The synopsis for Perotta’s Tracy Flick Can’t Win novel reads:
Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.
Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice.
But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers memories for Tracy and leads her to reflect on the trajectory of her own life. As she considers the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President’s wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?
Tracy Flick Can’t Win will be produced by Witherspoon, Lauren Neustadter, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa with Perrotta executive producing.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.