Par, MTV give Payne window for ‘Election’

Alexander Payne, who made his directorial debut on Miramax’s “Citizen Ruth,” will direct “Election” for MTV Films and Paramount Pictures.

Written by Payne and “Ruth” co-writer Jim Taylor, “Election” concerns three students who run for high school student body president, and the teacher who advises them.

Former Rysher CEO Keith Samples is in talks to put together financing for the $6 million to $8 million production, and possibly produce the picture.

Samples got involved with the project before he parted ways with Rysher last month.

However, Paramount, which will distribute the film worldwide, plans to make “Election” with or without a financing partner, according to sources.

While no cast has been signed, a number of actors, including Tim Robbins, have expressed an interest in the savvy comedy, which has been likened to “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Second live outing

The film will be the second live-action feature to come out of MTV Films’ first-look deal at Paramount. The Alan Cohn-helmed “Dead Man on Campus” will probably hit theaters this fall.

MTV’s first Paramount release, “Beavis and Butt-head Do America,” grossed $62 million domestically.

Payne was repped in the deal by his agents at Endeavor. Jim Taylor was repped by the William Morris Agency.

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