Lily Tomlin Wonders How Jennifer Aniston Can Reboot ‘9 to 5’ When Everyone Works From Home

‘It’s going to be tough to make it happen’
Lily Tomlin Wonders How Jennifer Aniston Can Reboot ‘9 to 5’ When Everyone Works From Home

Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton delivered a hilarious feminist manifesto with 1980’s 9 to 5, a comedy in which three working-class ladies exact sweet revenge on their proto-#MeToo boss. The concept had all kinds of legs, too: a 9 to 5 TV series ran for five seasons in the 1980s (that’s a lot of revenge), and Parton wrote songs for a Broadway version in 2009. 

And hey, if the idea worked three times already, why not a fourth? 

Jennifer Aniston recently announced plans to produce a 21st-century version of 9 to 5, written by Juno’s Diablo Cody. But Tomlin for one, doesn’t think the idea will work. It’s not that bosses are any less of the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” that Dabney Coleman portrayed in the original. It’s that the workplace itself barely exists.

Tomlin, Parton and Fonda talked about starring in a sequel a few years ago, but Tomlin didn’t buy the screenplay for a second. “We had one official crack at the script,” she told PEOPLE. “The draft just didn’t work for us. We couldn’t really see the work world today (in the pages). People work from home. They take gig work. They don’t even know their boss. They’re at home!”

Parton agreed, telling Entertainment Tonight that she and her co-stars took a hard pass. “I don’t think we’re going to do the sequel,” she said. “We never could get the script where it was enough different than the first one, and that one turned out so good.”

Tomlin wasn’t thrilled about the stage version either, partly because it was so tough to see someone else playing her iconic role. “I felt sort of the same way I felt about the musical. You know, part of you feels rejected. You think that character is yours always. And you could reembody it.”

As for today’s workplace, what are the producers going to do? Hit the mute over Zoom? Compromise the company Slack? It’s hard to poison The Man’s coffee when The Man is working two time zones away. 

“My sympathies are with Jennifer and her writer Diablo, who is a good writer,” explained Tomlin. “It’s going to be tough to make it happen.”


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