Cultural amnesia is a curious phenomenon. In August, it was reported that Paul Feig was in talks to direct “the Ghosbusters” reboot, and it was said that his intentions were to make it a female-led movie. Shortly thereafter, Bill Murray even offered some female suggestions for the cast that traveled to every corner of the universe. Yesterday, it was announced that Feig had found a co-writer for the film (Katie Dippold, author of the Feig helmed “The Heat”) and the Internet went bananas about the fact that an all-female-led “Ghostbusters” was actually happening —as if the original announcement was never made. “Yes, it’s really happening!” the forgetful fans cried, some in elation, some in disbelief.
In any event, Entertainment Weekly pounced quickly on Feig to discuss the developing film. And he’s a bit dismayed at the inherent sexism that’s part of the buzz about a female led blockbuster. “I really cannot believe we’re still having this conversation,” he said. “When people accuse it of being a gimmick, I go ‘why is a movie starring women considered a gimmick and a movie starring men is just a normal movie?’”
The trades revealed yesterday this new Feig-led “Ghostbusters” would not be connected to the original series, but in the interview, the director goes one step further. This rendition will completely wipe the slate and will operate under the assumption that ghosts have never attacked New York before. Here’s the question and answer in full context:
So in the universe that you conceived, it’s like the world of the first two movies didn’t exist?
“Yeah. I love origin stories. That’s my favorite thing. I love the first one so much I don’t want to do anything to ruin the memory of that. So it just felt like, let’s just restart it because then we can have new dynamics. I want the technology to be even cooler. I want it to be really scary, and I want it to happen in our world today that hasn’t gone through it so it’s like, oh my God what’s going on?”
Interestingly enough, Feig admits that when he met with Sony head Amy Pascal, she professed that “no one” wanted to direct the movie because the franchise was so beloved. Feig himself was reluctant and didn’t see a way in until the eureka moment came. “I was like, I don’t know if I want to take that on because the first two are such classics and just because of how do you do it?,” he recalled. “Who do you bring in now that Harold’s gone? I know that Bill didn’t want to do it and I love Dan, but it was just like I don’t know how to do it.”
What if Dan Aykroyd wants to return? Feig says he’s open to anyone in the original cast who wants to come back, but in this reboot, they’ll have to play new characters. “Well, I mean, look, those are my comedy heroes,” he said. “So as far as I’m concerned, anybody wants to come back I welcome with open arms. It would just be in different roles now, but it would be fun to figure out how to do that.” This is likely Feig’s way of saying he wants to acknowledge the preceding films in a manner that fits the new approach.
“We want to have fun with giving nods to what came before, but we don’t want to be bound by it because Katie and I already have talked at length and we have really fun ideas for things,” Feig said, adding: “…I think there will be definitely room to play with that. We want to do clever nods to it, but not cloying nods to it. We want to have the ability to really bring it into modern day.”
The “Bridesmaids” director said while a script isn’t yet ready, he and Dippold know the basic fundamentals of the story: they know where they want to take the characters, how the story will go and what this universe will look like. Feig even said they’ll update the technology and bridge the old with the new.
Meanwhile, in related Feig news, he says the sequel to “The Heat” may not be happening because one of the original stars isn’t interested in sequels. “The Heat 2 [script is] great. It’s just Sandra’s not wanting to do it —not likely to do a sequel to anything. So that’s on hold.” But this shouldn’t be a shock as Sandra Bullock has been saying this for a while now.
No date has been set for the new “Ghostbusters” film yet and we suspect it’s at least a two years away at this point. The next effort from Feig will be “Spy” starring Melissa McCarthy, opening on May 22, 2015.