[Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in August, 2014. For more on the casting rumors, click here.]
The original “Ghostbusters” weren’t in particularly great shape — in fact, most of the crew was sporting pot-bellies big enough to keep them from effectively busting anything if physical exertion lasted longer than a few seconds (it’s amazing they were able to save New York simply because it required climbing quite a few stairs). Lake Bell does not face similar deficiencies. Tall and fit, Bell’s reach could prove an advantage when charged with intimidating otherworldly beings into submission. Plus, Bell’s directorial debut “In a World…” showed great promise for future offerings. Soon, she may be wielding big budgets — what better way to learn the grander scale of her trade than under the feminist tutelage of Paul Feig?
Lizzy Caplan has been around for a while (“Freaks and Geeks,” “Party Down”), but her big breakthrough came this past year with Showtime’s sexy period drama “Masters of Sex.” But, with the “Ghostbusters” reboot on the horizon, it would be a good opportunity to see Caplan in what Caplan does best—interact with a bunch of crazy women. The actress, who was so memorable in “Mean Girls” and later “Bachelorette” is great with an ensemble cast and to have her at the helm of “Ghostbusters’ could make for a really rewarding comedy.
One can argue that Greta Gerwig is capable of pretty much anything, but having her as lead in a “Ghostbusters” film seems like a pretty perfect fit. The “Frances Ha” actress is the perfect level of offbeat and has the Bill Murray-esque charm that made the “Ghostbusters” films such hits in the first place. She’s also not over-the-top, ideal for such a role in an already looney film. Although Gerwig is busy with the upcoming “How I Met Your Dad,” we could only hope that she’d be willing to take some time to catch some ghosts.
As anyone who watches Comedy Central’s breakout hit series “Broad City” will tell you, these gals are gut bustingly hilarious. Amy Poehler was wise to lend her support to their show by signing on as producer. The two, who originated the basis for the show on the web before going big, have a natural chemistry that would lend itself well to an ensemble project like “Ghostbusters.” The only downside: together, they’d steal the entire film away from their co-stars.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Greer is known, and even celebrated, for the robust list of quirky, supporting roles she has played on both film and television over the years — the most recent being “Archer”‘s Cheryl Tunt, ISIS secretary and as of Season 5, also an aspiring country singer who goes by the name Cherlene. Greer’s manic, yet strangely alluring performance as Tunt is more than just her specific brand of comedy. Rather, it reflects an approach to humor that is ubiquitous across film, television and now even every-day life, as a result of projects such as “Bridesmaids” and “Girls.” Greer, however, played a major role in paving the way for awkward female humor, so it’s high time credit go where credit is due — and what better way than arming her with a Ghostbuster rifle.
Over the past few years, Martindale has taken center stage on both network and cable television. Although she appears genial, the characters she plays — Mags Bennett on “Justified,” Claudia the KGB handler on “The Americans” and even Carol Miller on “The Millers” — are all tough-as-nails women who refuse to compromise. Why should they? And why should we when it comes to the “Ghostbusters” reboot?
Alison Pill is currently stuck playing a scared bunny rabbit of a human being on “The Newsroom,” but her indie work has given her a chance to show incredible range, from fierce lesbian activist (“Milk”) to bubbly-on-bubbly Zelda Fitzgerald (“Midnight in Paris”). Pill’s shown both a proven ability to keep things grounded, as she does in “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” and an ability to escalate a scene to its absolute craziest point (witness her short but memorable work in “Snowpiercer”). She could literally fill any role “Ghostbusters” required of her.
Plaza isn’t the most gung-ho of performers — both on-screen and behind-the-scenes, she seems to maintain a pretty low-key vibe. But with the right amount of confidence infused with that, she’d help keep a lady-led “Ghostbusters” firmly in the comedy camp. Frankly, if there’s anyone on this list who can sell the line “Back off, man, I’m a scientist,” it’s Plaza. You might not believe that she’s actually a scientist — but then again, did you really believe that of Bill Murray?
Okay, Jenny Slate could probably also pick up the mantle of Bill Murray, especially when you consider her subtle, nuanced performance in “Obvious Child” in contrast to her balls-to-the-wall awfulness as “Parks and Recreation”‘s Mona Lisa Saperstein. Girl’s got range, is what we’re saying, with clear, strong comedic chops that could carry a special effects-laden extravaganza like “Ghostbusters.” Girl’s ready to be a star, and this could be the perfect project to prove it.
She’s been doing commanding voice work for years as Lana Kane on “Archer,” but Aisha Tyler has yet to land a major mainstream movie role. A repeated guest actress on many television shows, including extended stays on “Friends,” “24” and “CSI,” all of which should have broken out the clever (and gorgeous) comedian, Tyler would be more than the new Ernie Hudson (aka diversity hire). She’s got wit and verve to spare, both of which were on full display at this year’s Comic Con panel when she expertly hosted the “Penny Dreadful” junket, and she isn’t afraid to unleash a verbal tirade on anyone or anything. If I were a ghost, I’d think twice before sliming this one.
Walter possesses the eloquence, in both attitude and appearance, of a classic Hollywood starlet. When paired with sarcasm, Lucille Bluth and Malory Archer emerge. Despite their unabashed selfishness, these characters, and, by extension, Walter, possess a certain charisma that tricks you into trusting them time and time again, in a way that is similar to Bill Murray’s character from the original “Ghostbusters.”
As the “Scandal” star proved last year on “Saturday Night Live,” she has one hell of knack for broad comedy. Despite her hilarious showing on the late night program, she has has yet to be offered the chance to flex her comedic chops on the big screen. When she has appeared in comedies, she’s always been forced to play it straight while the men around her got to have all the fun. “Ghostbusters” would be the perfect showcase for the Emmy-nominee to surprise.
Yi hasn’t gotten a ton of work since her breakout role in “Knocked Up” and her indie work was relatively low-profile. (She’s probably most familiar to audiences as one of Hugh Laurie’s beleaguered assistants on “House.”) But she brings a very particular, nerdy energy to her work on screen, and that’s just the quality needed for at least one of the Ghostbuster archetypes. Not everyone can have Dan Ackroyd’s charisma. Or should, for that matter.
[Ben Travers, Liz Shannon Miller, Shipra Gupta, Eric Eidelstein and Nigel M. Smith contributed to this list.]