Despite the fact that the last time a Ghostbusters film was in theaters, George H.W. Bush was President, the property remains as popular as ever. Director Ivan Reitman‘s first two movies connected with a lot of people, and that love has kept the franchise alive for over two decades. During that time, many tried to get a Ghostbusters sequel off the ground (especially Dan Aykroyd), and 2015 is finally the year in which cameras will once again roll on an official film in the franchise—albeit in a very different fashion.
After plenty of stops and starts on a Ghostbusters sequel, Sony Pictures finally found an angle with which to tackle the franchise in filmmaker Paul Feig, the director behind Bridesmaids and The Heat, and the creator of the short-lived but beloved TV series Freaks and Geeks. But rather than trying to rope in old cast members or create a “New Class”-esque Ghostbusters sequel, Feig’s film will essentially reboot the franchise with an all-new—and all-female—cast.
News of this take came as a delight to many (myself included), especially when the main cast was announced, with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon leading the ensemble. But as with every beloved franchise, there are some who found this “reinvention” of the series troubling.
Steve recently sat down with Feig at SXSW in anticipation of the release of his upcoming action-comedy Spy, and during the course of their conversation Feig spoke quite a bit about his Ghostbusters film, the intense fan reaction, and the development of another, “male-inclusive” Ghostbusters movie in tandem with his own.
As for the practical aspects of his Ghostbustsers movie, Feig revealed that filming begins on June 15th, and he also confirmed that the film will indeed be rated PG-13. And for those Ghostbusters purists, yes, they will be shooting some of the film in New York:
“It looks like we’re gonna be shooting interiors in Boston and then we’ll shoot a number of the exteriors in New York. It’s just shooting in New York has gotten very, very expensive.”
When asked what it’s like to take on such a big franchise property for the first time, Feig spoke about the initial reaction to his Ghostbusters take that was subsequently followed by a certain degree of vitriol:
“It’s interesting. It’s been challenging. I kind of innocently stepped into this because you know, ‘Oh I love Ghostbusters.’ They were trying to get me to do the sequel and I was like, ‘I don’t wanna do that,’ and then I kind of had this idea of like, ‘Wait what if I do it with these funny women?’ That’s interesting and I have a lot of ideas, and then kind of announced it like, ‘Oh this’ll be fun,’ and then it was like, ‘Oh my God…’
Because the first wave is always huge enthusiasm on the internet. The first wave they’re happy, all the people like you, and then you’re like, ‘That’s great.’ And then it just disseminates out—and it takes like a day—and then all of a sudden you’re like ‘(Gasp) Oh no…’ and it’s just like ‘bam, bam, bam’ you start getting hit.”
“Look, I get it. I’m not one of these guys who’s like, ‘These fuckers!’ These things mean a lot to people. Everything I’ve done up until now has been original stuff… But this is taking on a property that means a lot to people. I was just out of college when I saw the first one, and I loved it. It was a real game-changer in the comedy world for me, but I wasn’t 8 or 9 years old when it came out. The people I’m getting hammered by the most are guys kind of in their late thirties who grew up and ran around their neighborhood in those costumes, and I completely get it. I completely get it. So all you can then do is just, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t want to say ‘Trust me’ but just go like, ‘Wait!’”
It goes without saying, but Feig is not, in fact, coming into Ghostbusters with the intention of ruining the franchise:
“All I can say is I’m coming into this so pure of heart, just like with Peanuts. I’m not looking to fuck this up. If we do, I will feel horrible and I will flagellate myself until the end of my days. All I can say is I think we’ll pull it off.”
While Feig’s film seemed like a pretty huge step for Sony after years of trying to get the Ghostbusters franchise off the ground, reports surfaced a couple of weeks ago that the studio is now developing a whole series of inter-connected Ghostbusters movies, with Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt potentially toplining a separate Ghostbusters movie to follow Feig’s. News of this “action-oriented” movie somewhat took the wind out of the sails of Feig’s film, and when Steve asked the director his thoughts on this proposed “Ghostbusters Universe”, Feig said he’s simply focused on his own movie:
“All I can think about is mine. This is something I came onto just because of something I wanted to do, that creatively I thought would be really fun. I know that Ivan [Reitman] is kind of making this deal with Sony, and I get it. If I had a property that big I’d probably do that too. But all I can really care about right now is my four ladies and making the movie as awesome as it can be.”
While some fans may still be upset that Feig is “ruining” their childhoods (fun fact: someone can’t “ruin” your childhood without a time machine), I think it’s clear the filmmaker is tackling this property from a place of passion and creativity. This isn’t a cash-grab or a career play for Feig to go on to bigger and better things—this Ghostbusters movie was borne out of his own desire to make something different from the franchise films that dominate the marketplace, and for that I’m more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Watch the full portion of Steve’s Ghostbusters discussion with Feig below, and look for the entire interview on Collider soon.