It’s time for Dolly Parton to rehire some wranglers for a patriarchal beating.
You wouldn’t have to change much about the original 9 To 5 to make it relevant for today’s audiences. In fact, it’s more than a little depressing to consider. Three secretaries watch while one man after another gets promoted above them while their ideas are co-opted and shoved back in their faces. Dabney Coleman’s bigoted boss consumes their time at the office with aggressive sexual advances, and he blackmails Dolly Parton into jumping into bed with him. Parton then teams up with her compatriots (Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda), and the three women plot revenge against the demon that joyously and routinely torments them.
It looks like 20th Century Fox is hoping to tap into the #TimesUp movement with a reboot of the 1980 smash hit, and they’re looking to bring back the original stars to pass their wisdom on to the next generation. Deadline reports that the first film’s creator, Patricia Resnick, wants to attach Rashida Jones to possibly script and star. The general idea being that three new women are suffering the same plight experienced by Parton and her crew, and this next generation seeks the previous’s guidance in taking down the new threat.
For my money, 9 To 5 is a perfect societal takedown. I routinely watch it, and it is amazing how incredibly relevant the film remains. Amazing. And like I said, utterly depressing. You could easily just bring the film back to theaters and I’d bet it would still score the painful laughs that it won back in 1980. We learned nothing from it then. Will we learn anything from it now?
Jones makes sense for the reboot-quel, as she has been a vocal presence in the #TimesUp movement. Speaking on a panel at the Makers Conference in February, Jones championed the importance of inclusivity:
“We want our industry to reflect the world, and the world has changed, and Hollywood has gotta change with it. There is no change unless you bring every single person along who has spent time being marginalized, harassed, assaulted. Whether that means you’re a person of color, whether that means you’re a woman, whether that means you’re a disabled person. There are so many people who have been ignored as they deal with the long tail of the patriarchy.”
She originally had her name attached to the #MeToo movement when The Hollywood Reporter claimed that her reasoning for leaving Toy Story 4 was due to unwanted advances from Pixar and Disney chief John Lasseter. She denied these accusations but has remained a passionate supporter for those that have spoken out against their aggressors. It’s easy to imagine Jones channeling that zeal and delivering a new 9 To 5 fueled with rage and humor.
It’s simple to jump on the bandwagon of remake fatigue, but 9 To 5 is a film for our age as much as it was 38 years ago. If anything, Jones could plunge the venom even deeper since we’ve apparently gained absolutely zero wisdom in the prevailing years. A new 9 To 5 will need to use a sledgehammer to bust through our thick skulls. There’s plenty of space for anger, and Parton’s DGAF working-class philosophy could line up perfectly alongside Jones’s biting wit.