Lots of names were in the mix for Paul Feig’s all-female version of “Ghostbusters” as is the way all Hollywood projects work. Rebel Wilson revealed she had conversations with the director about the movie (she ultimately didn’t land the job) and Bill Murray once publicly vouched for Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Linda Cardellini and Emma Stone. It’s unclear how much say Murray had since he originally wanted nothing to do with the direct “Ghostbusters II” sequel Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman were developing, but Wiig and McCarthy did land two of the four lead roles (SNL actors Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones round out the main cast). But it turns out Stone was offered a part.
“The script was really funny,” she The Wall Street Journal. “It just didn’t feel like the right time for me. A franchise is a big commitment—it’s a whole thing. I think maybe I need a minute before I dive back into that water.”
It’s unclear if Murray influenced her decision, but the actor that co-starred with her in the recent rom com “Aloha,” gave her some advice she took to heart. “He told me to keep some things I love just for me,” Stone said. “The idea is to have some things that you don’t feel like you need to share with the world. To have some things that are only yours.”
Meanwhile, perpetual “Ghostbusters” proselytizer Dan Aykryod continues to insist every “Ghostbusters” related project will be the best thing of all time. “We’ve had brilliant creators walk in, from Paul Feig to many others. And we loved the concepts they’re coming up with. And this one with the four girls is going to be massive. Oh, man, it’s funny. It’s intelligent. It hits the right notes, and I’m really excited about it,” he told Comic Book Resources while skirting the question of whether there is still a conventional guys “Ghostbusters” film coming as has been reported.
Meanwhile, director Paul Feig, who is now helming the 2016 female driven version admits that Ivan Reitman and company approached him several times to helm the original “Ghostbusters 3” version that would have featured the remaining members of the original cast (minus Murray) and new characters. And each time, he turned it down.
“I had been contacted several times about doing a sequel for ‘Ghostbusters’ and I just kept turning it down because I didn’t know how to do it,” he told Allocine a few weeks back. “The scripts had been written, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I wasn’t excited about it. So finally, one day I was like, it’s a great franchise and it’s a great idea, if I was going to do it, how would I do it? And then I thought, if I could put four women in the lead roles, that’s exciting to me. That I know how to do, and I know how to make that funny.”
Then the eureka moment came to Feig and then he re-pitched the producers and the studio with his version which was ultimately green lit.
“Then I thought, I’d rather do it as a reboot so I wasn’t tied to the old movies. The old movies are so good, I didn’t want to mess with them,” he said. “And I also want to see the beginnings of this group. I want to see people seeing ghosts for the first time, and how they’re going to fight them for the first time, how they develop their technology. So it just got very exciting to me. I just love working with funny women, and that’s all I really like to do with my career.”
In another recent Empire interview promoting “Spy,” Feig said the “Ghostbusters 3” screenplay, “felt sweaty to me, it felt like a wheel was off the cart.” And you’ve got to appreciate that candidness, though we’re sure Aykroyd can’t be 100% happy to hear that about a screenplay he’s helped develop for several years now. You can watch the full interview below. “Ghostbusters” is due in theaters on July 22, 2016.