Reese Witherspoon to return as Tracy Flick in Election sequel

Reese Witherspoon is set to reunite with director Alexander Payne for an Election sequel.

The film will be an adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s Tracy Flick Can’t Win, his 2022 novel that follows the character of Tracy Flick as she battles to become the principal of a suburban high school. “She hasn’t fulfilled her dreams of a political career,” Perrotta said of Tracy in the book. “And she’s looking back and starting to realize that she wasn’t as extraordinary an individual as she believed. That she was a kind of representative woman rather than a unique superhero.”

Perrotta’s novel was released to acclaim this June with the New York Times’s Molly Young calling it “exquisitely drawn”.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win will be released on streaming platform Paramount+. Witherspoon will also produce while Payne will again write the screenplay with Jim Taylor.

The 1999 original was a breakout success, netting Payne and Taylor an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay and Witherspoon a Golden Globe nod for best actress in a musical or comedy. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it “a devastatingly clever and funny black comedy”.

Witherspoon has since gone on to win an Oscar for her role in Walk the Line and has most recently been seen in Apple TV’s drama series The Morning Show. She will next lead Netflix romantic comedy Your Place or Mine alongside Ashton Kutcher and Legally Blonde 3, co-written by Mindy Kaling.

In a USA Today interview from this summer, Witherspoon teased that out of the “dozen projects in various stages of development” she is handling, there was one that she “can’t really talk about”. She said she would be “reprising a character I played a long time ago”.

Payne’s last film was 2017’s high-concept satire Downsizing starring Matt Damon. The film received mixed reviews and was a commercial misfire. His next film The Holdovers stars Paul Giamatti was recently purchased by Focus Features for a worldwide deal that is estimated to be worth $30m and is expected to be released in 2023.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win is one of many projects heading to Paramount’s streaming network based on pre-existing studio property. Next year sees a TV remake of Fatal Attraction starring Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan and a Grease prequel.