Dolly Parton shares new details on '9 to 5' sequel and her original costars' plans to return

It’s been nearly 40 years since the stars of 9 to 5 poured themselves a cup of ambition, and sashayed into movie-comedy history. In a new interview with EW for her upcoming Dumplin’ soundtrack, Dolly Parton gave more details on the plans she, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin have to fill their cups up again for a sequel — with the help of a new generation of young women.

“Pat Resnick, who wrote the original, she’s writing with Rashida Jones, so we’re hopefully gonna get to see that soon,” Parton says. “And I’m sure that we’ll make some changes, but I’m certain that we’ll get it to where we all agree. We’re all so excited about it, I’ve been advertisin’ that we are doing it! Of course you always have to approve it — I don’t want to be a part of anything that’s not gonna be great, which I’m sure that it will be.”

Persuading Parton and the others to come on board took a while, she admits: “I was never willing to do a sequel, because they never came up with anything that was as good as the original. I don’t like to mess with history, you know? But this would be addressing the same issues, and they need to be addressed again and some more, in different ways.”

Fonda agreed, speaking a TCA panel earlier this summer. “I’m sorry to say the situation is worse today,” she said, of the kind of workplace harassment and mistreatment portrayed so memorably in the film. “Today a lot of the workforce is hired by an outside company. Who do you talk to if you have a problem?”

Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin promote “Nine To Five” in 1980. (Photo: 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)
Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin promote “Nine To Five” in 1980. (Photo: 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)

For her part, Parton says she’s not surprised by how many fans the film still has, or that Hollywood would want to embrace it again in 2018. “Through the years, I think that it stayed popular because it was very entertaining and it was well done. It had the comedy, but it also had great subject matter…. And because of the #MeToo movement and women trying harder to stand up for who they are and their rights, it seemed to be the perfect time to do it. You know how some things just happen at the right time?”

She’s excited, too, to build a natural bridge from the original crew to the future film’s still-unannounced stars. “This gives us a chance to have three new young [women], whoever they may be, working at Consolidated, the company that we were with, and then they find these three older women — Lily, Jane, and myself — working out in the workplace, and so they wanna find out what we did. They’re gonna pick our brains for information, so that’s gonna actually lend itself to some really funny stuff, some cute stuff. And then,” she adds with a laugh, “there’s having six great women, instead of just the three.”