About The Film
More than 30 years after the first film debuted... more than 25 years after ghosts
were last busted on screen... the long wait is finally over. Ghostbusters is
returning to theaters, with a new team and new characters in a new adventure.
The new film began with director Paul Feig, who, as the creator of "Freaks and
Geeks" and the director of Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, has built an
impressive comedy resume of some of recent years' most successful,
groundbreaking, and memorable comedies. Given the opportunity to reboot the
franchise, it was Feig who saw a way to bring one of his personal comedy
influences into the 21st century. "I was an enormous fan when Ghostbusters first
came out," he says. "I saw it the opening weekend in the theater and had
honestly never seen a comedy do what that movie did to that audience. People,
including myself, just lost our minds, not only because it was funny. It was the
funniest people - we all loved Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie
Hudson, so seeing them together - this supergroup of funny guys - made it even
better. But the thing that put it over the top was the context of an enormous
world of fighting ghosts with technology... that's the greatest idea in the world.
It's one of these things that make you say, 'I wish I had thought of that
Naturally, the idea for another Ghostbusters - as a sequel - was one that had
been explored for quite a while. "I've always wanted to do another sequel," says
Ivan Reitman, who directed and produced the first two iconic films in the
franchise, and now produces the new film with Amy Pascal. "It's one of those
movies that you should revisit and I was really hoping that I could do it. But
unless we all agreed on something, it wasn't going to get done. Getting four
people - especially these four people - to agree was kind of impossible. And
then, unfortunately, we lost Harold."
With the passing of Harold Ramis in 2014, the studio and Reitman began to look
for a new comedic talent to take the helm of a future film. That's when Feig
entered the picture. "I knew they'd been trying to put together a sequel for a
long time," says Feig. "I started wracking my brain. Funny people fighting the
paranormal is still the greatest idea ever, and it felt like there was still so
much to explore outside the worlds of the first two films. I thought, 'How would
I do it?' Well, I'd make it with the four funniest women I know. That excites
me, because it makes it something new."
"Paul has been intent on doing a big tentpole movie with women, but it was hard
to figure out the right film, with the right cast - the chemistry had to be
right on every front," adds executive producer Jessie Henderson, who is Feig's
producing partner. "We took our first stab at that with Spy, but his idea for
Ghostbusters was an opportunity to take it to an even bigger level, with special
effects, visual effects, and the ensemble cast."
Reitman was also excited about the opportunities for comedy in Feig's idea.
"What's really exciting about Paul's take is that it's not about the gender," he
says. "It's the friendship of four particular characters as they do something
With the studio and Reitman in his corner, Feig teamed with Katie Dippold to
co-write the screenplay. "There was only one person I wanted to write this with,
and that was Katie," says Feig of his co-writer on The Heat. "I've worked with
her on other projects and I know she loves ghost stories. She loves scary
movies. It was a match made in heaven."
"At first, we spent a lot of time talking about what we wanted the script to
be," says Dippold. "There were so many different creative debates - what
elements of the original do you want to see again? What should feel new? Then we
talked about the story and the characters. Nobody wanted to do remakes of the
original characters - Venkman will always be Venkman. So we came up with four
new characters of our own."
"Paul was intent on making a movie that lived up to the spirit of the original
but had a new reason for being," says Amy Pascal. "It always comes down to the
characters, and that is what Paul has always been brilliant at creating."
It was in this way that Feig approached the film as an entirely new story as a
new team answers the call. "I wanted the movie to start with our world today - a
world that has never seen ghosts that we can prove," says Feig. "Our
Ghostbusters have dedicated their lives to scientifically proving ghosts exist,
but they're considered loonies, because there's no physical proof. But when they
actually get to see the ghosts they've been trying to see for their whole lives,
they're going to prove that their whole lives' mission was correct. They all
have this common goal, and they complement each other."
So, Dippold and Feig created new characters who would mesh well as a team. He
explains: "Abby is the paranormal expert; she's dedicated her life to studying
ghosts. Erin is the physicist, who tries to bring a scientific grounding into
it. Holtzmann, the engineer, can take the concepts that Abby and Erin come up
with and actually build the physical equipment to fight them. And finally, Patty
joins the group as the newcomer who knows the ins and outs of New York City,
which will be one of the keys to solving where the ghosts are and what's
happening to Manhattan."
"You've seen men as comedic eggheads but not since Elaine May in A New Leaf have
women been portrayed as funny scientists," says Pascal. "It was a fresh and
unique take on the material that needed to be told."
But writing the characters as complementary was only half of the challenge -
Feig also had to cast the roles with actors who were hilarious and could bring
them to life. Into these roles, Feig cast Melissa McCarthy as Abby, Kristen Wiig
as Erin, Kate McKinnon as Holtzmann, and Leslie Jones as Patty.
"I think the reason why Melissa is one of the most successful comedians working
today is that she brings an everyman quality to her work," says Reitman. "She
brings great energy, great truth - she has a quality of being very funny and
very real. People love her because she's here to represent them.
When it came to casting the role of Erin, Feig says McCarthy was already on
board, which led to what seems like a first go-to candidate in her Bridesmaids
co-star. "Kristen's name just kept coming up," Feig says, "but I didn't even
know if she'd want to do it, because she's been showing what a great actress she
is in so many dramas lately. Then, out of the blue, my wife was talking to
Kristen and she said, 'Oh, I know Paul's doing Ghostbusters, and if he'd ever
want me to do any little part in it, I'd love to.' That was music to my ears,
because Kristen would be so good in this role. She's really one of the funniest
people in the world - she makes me laugh and always has."
"For the role of Jillian Holtzmann, we needed an actress who could go outside
the box," Reitman states. "I saw the extraordinary sketches in which Kate
McKinnon plays Justin Bieber, and captures his essence in a totally original
hilarious way. For Ghostbusters, she brings a unique, quirky, comedic energy to
her role that is perfect! Kate is a comedic force to be reckoned with."
For the final role, Feig was struck by lightning. "I first saw Leslie Jones do a
'Weekend Update' segment. About a minute into her bit, I sat up and said to my
wife, 'That's one of our Ghostbusters,'" says Feig. "We met, and we bonded over
the fact that we both started in standup at about the same time, in the 1980s.
She's such a big personality, but it's sincere - she's so passionate about
everything she does. She commands the screen as Patty Tolan."
But one other reason why these four actresses were right for the roles was that
beyond their individual talents, Feig knew they would blend well as a team,
creating a whole that was even stronger than its individual components. "That's
why it was important to me to cast actors who were friends in real life, because
when you do that, you get a level of camaraderie, realness, and warmth between
them that you don't sometimes get when you put actors together who don't know
each other," Feig continues. "It's always been important to me - it's one of the
reasons why I think Bridesmaids worked so well. Kristen and Melissa were
Groundlings together, did Bridesmaids and 'Saturday Night Live' together. Kate
and Leslie are on 'Saturday Night Live' right now. All four of them have worked
together in various projects, and they all have a very different sense of humor
that complements each other: Kristen is just so good at that contained, neurotic
comedy that she keeps very fun; Kate is such a physical comedian, but has this
inner oddness, providing the movie with a weirdo energy; Leslie is just an
explosion that comes onto the set; and Melissa is the leader of the pack. You're
really getting four very distinct characters, four very distinct personalities,
whom also happen to be able to kick a lot of ghost ass."
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