Before she was a lifestyle guru—or whatever the hell she’s doing with Draper James—before she was a Minivan maven, and before she was Elle Woods, Reese Witherspoon was Tracy Flick. For some, despite the popularity of Elle and the romance of Annette in Cruel Intentions, this is her most enduring role. It certainly is to me, not least because Election is a great goddamn movie that still holds up. Tracy Flick is just a hall of fame character that not even another great like Elle Woods can top.
Election is an Alexander Payne film, and people have been wondering off and on for years when the two would re-team and maybe recreate the magic of Election. Well, they were going to this year on Payne’s next film, Downsizing, but Witherspoon just dropped out citing “scheduling conflicts”. That seems vague and a bit fishy but I’m cynical. Witherspoon is starring in and producing Big Little Lies for HBO, which has already kept fellow producer/star Nicole Kidman out of Wonder Woman. But they’ve got to be winding down on that production by now, so it’s either that or Draper James needs curating. (Draper James is to southern style as Chico’s is to Sedona style.)
Replacing Witherspoon is Kristen Wiig, who has proved she’s got legit drama chops in movies like The Skeleton Twins and Welcome to Me. Wiig is having one of the all-time great post-SNL careers, sliding between blockbuster comedies and critical darling indie dramas, with an Oscar nomination to boot. And now she’s stepping into Reese Witherspoon-sized roles. Wiig has accomplished something that has eluded even Tina Fey and Amy Poehler—she’s found success as a film actor. Of all the people to come out of SNL over the last fifteen years, did ANYONE have Kristen Wiig in “most successful SNL alumni” bingo?