Maybe it was inevitable, but thanks to the Sony leak, the “Ghostbusters” development process became something of a confused sh*t show. Sony and then chief Amy Pascal had already announced an all-female reboot, that will be coming out summer, directed by Paul Feig (“The Heat,” “Bridesmaids”). But there were many iterations in the works, with original film’s director Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd setting up Ghostcorps at Sony with the plan to spin “Ghosbusters” into its own larger cinematic universe like Marvel. One of the versions that was in the mix at one point was a male “Ghostbusters” reboot spearheaded by “Captain America: Civil War” directors the Joe and Anthony Russo, with Channing Tatum and possibly Chris Pratt possibly involved.
The boys version has not been looking good for a few months now. Channing Tatum was asked about it during press rounds for “Magic Mike XXL,” suggested there were just too many cooks in the “Ghostbusters” kitchen and their version was probably not happening. “Probably” being the operative word as a follow-up report by the trades did say that the project was still moving forward. But according to the Russos, their involvement is done and part of the reason is that their ongoing relationship with Marvel, which includes the upcoming, two-part, “Avengers: Infinity War,” took them out of the running.
“There is no status with that for us,” Joe Russo told Forbes. “There was a period there when Paul Feig was engaging Sony in talks about ‘Ghostbusters’ and we were also engaging them. He was further along with his process than we were and he closed his deal so that’s the only ‘Ghostbusters’ world that’s being explored right now over at Sony. Once we took ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ it [took] us off the table for any kind of any potential work on a ‘Ghostbusters’ project.”
Joe’s comments are interesting as they suggest that the two ‘Ghostbusters’ pitches were concurrent and Feig’s was greenlit first, effectively killing or delaying theirs. The way things played out in the media, because of the Sony leaks, it appeared that Feig had already set his deal and the Russos came in a few months later with Sony still open to the idea of two spin-off films that weren’t actually connected.
It was always murky, potentially convoluted stuff, as franchises these days need to be connected and running on a similar time line. Feig’s “Ghostbusters” is not a direct sequel to the original Ivan Reitman films and essentially presumes they do not exist, but will feature cameos from the original actors, albeit in new roles (we know, it’s confusing). There’s nothing to say that Channing Tatum couldn’t still be involved down the road, but at this point the Russo version looks to be on ice.
Additionally, in other ‘busting news, while speaking to Yahoo Movies, current “Ghostbusters” director Paul Feig admitted that Bill Murray couldn’t help but go off piste during his “Ghostbusters” cameo, improvising up a storm.
“As he was doing this role we wrote, he did this one take in particular where like, in ‘Meatballs,’ where just bursts out with some big thing,” Feige explained. “It wasn’t scripted. That’s when you’re like, ‘Oh my God, wow, Bill Murray’s here. This is Bill Murray from Stripes.’ ”
Bill Murray, you so cray! “Ghostbusters” opens on July 15th. You can watch the latest trailers and an arguably more popular fan edit here. And don’t forget there’s an animated film version coming too.