The Big Picture
- Alexander Payne is still considering a sequel to his film Election but wants to make sure it lives up to the standards set by its predecessor.
- Tom Perotta, the author of the original book Election, has written a sequel, and Reese Witherspoon and Payne have discussed the project.
- While Payne and his team are interested in making the sequel, it will likely be some time before they are able to fully commit due to other commitments.
It’s been more than two decades since the cinematic masterpiece known as Election first hit theaters and its director, Alexander Payne is still dreaming of a sequel. His only hangup? Payne wants to ensure that it leans more to the Godfather 2 side of the spectrum than Godfather 3. In an interview with Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub at Collider’s TIFF media studio at MARBL — during which the duo discussed everything from the helmer’s classics like Sideways to his latest project, The Holdovers — Payne opened up about the status of the Election sequel.
The good news for those holding their breath for what could turn into Election 2 is that the rumors are true and Payne isn’t the only original name on board for a follow-up. “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 reveals. Tossing in a healthy dose of reality, Payne admits that he’s still not entirely sure the sequel will take off. “It’s only because everything takes a while, and I have a couple things to do before that,” he says, “We’ll just see how it falls. It would be lovely to do.”
Looking forward to the reunion that could be, Payne adds, “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.” The pair formed a tight-knit bond while working on Election, a friendship and collaboration that has withstood the test of time with Payne saying, “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.” And, when it comes to giving his dedicated fandom a worthwhile follow-up, Payne says, “That’s what I gotta figure out. Can it be Godfather 2 and not Godfather 3? With all respect, Mr. [Francis Ford] Coppola, to Godfather 3.”
What’s ‘Election’ About?
Following the success of Citizen Ruth, Election was Payne’s second dip into feature-length filmmaking. Starring Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, the satirical comedy pulled its story from the pages of Perotta’s 1998 novel of the same name and followed a high school student named Tracy Flick (Witherspoon) who was eager to become the student body president. Unfortunately for Tracy, the social studies teacher, Jim McAllister (Broderick) is actively cheering on her loss, going to great lengths to change the results of the election.
While fans wait for more information about the possible Election sequel, Payne’s latest film, The Holdovers will celebrate a wide release on November 10, 2023. Don’t miss the rest of our coverage from TIFF 2023.