There was always that kid in school whose gum would drop out of his mouth, into the dirt, and he would pick it up, dust it off, pop it back in and go, “it’s still good.” Or, to give a more current example of desperation and denial, there’s that episode of “The Simpsons” where Homer has the spit roast pig and it’s fired through the air, through mud, dirt, garbage etc. and poor old Homer insists it’ll still be ok to eat. Dan Aykroyd is a little bit like that.
Sure, a “Ghostbusters” movie is going forward and he’s happy about it, but in many ways, it’s not his “Ghostbusters” movie at all. For four or five years now, Aykroyd and a slew of different writers tried to write “Ghostbusters 3.” They did in fact several versions of it, Etan Cohen came on board to write a draft, so did “The Office” guys Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (who it must be said were really hot for a minute in Hollywood and now are kind of ice cold). None of these drafts were greenlit by Sony or approved by the core team of Aykroyd, Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis and to a lesser extent Bill Murray, who just didn’t really care either way. All the while, like the boy who cried wolf, Aykroyd would tell anyone who would listen — cab drivers, dentists, psychiatrists, journalists — that a third “Ghostbusters” was right around the corner and just a few months away. Nobody actually bought this.
Then Harold Ramis passed away and all hopes of a proper “Ghostbusters 3” died on the vine immediately and to pretty much everyone except Dan Aykroyd. The solution was to go with director Paul Feig who essentially pitched his own female-centric “Ghostbusters” movie that has nothing to do with the original two movies. Feig got his way, Sony gave a thumbs up and a stellar female cast of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and SNL members Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon were cast (evidently there might be a role for SNL actress Cecily Strong too).
So, good, we’re off and ready, and despite the online petitions and protests, a female-led movie is hitting theaters summer 2016 whether you like it or not. This really should be the end of it, but Dan Aykroyd of course still has his ambitions.
But in case you’re wondering, he’s down with female OPP. “The real reality in fact of the third movie with this tremendous cast of women…. I’ve got three daughters, so I’m all for female empowerment,” he told Sirius XM this week (via Interrobang).“[Feig] establishes the voices beautifully in these characters. Now of course, he’s got masters playing the roles for him, so this is going to really work in our favor for the third movie.”
Now, if you’re one of those outraged dudes who insists “Ghostbusters” need to be male and or follow the original trio of actors (despite one of them being dead and the other having zero interest), you’re sort of in luck. Aykroyd insists a more “conventional” ghosbustin’ movie (read: men) could still happen.
“We have…I’ve written, well, there’s three drafts of the old concept that exists,” he told Sirius. “And we’re going to be able to salvage some of it and use it. Yeah, we’re gonna be able to use it some day. Let’s get this one made and that will reinvigorate the franchise and then we’ll go on to maybe doing a more conventional third sequel as we were planning and another idea I have for it.”
That would probably be “the new generation film,” Aykroyd as Dr. Raymond Stantz handing off the “Ghostbusters” mantle to a new generation of Ghostbusters, some men, some female (every young hip comic actor in Hollywood was mentioned at one point in early wish list conversations). And Murray, if he did appear at all, would be dead and play a ghost or some such. The idea of course was originally Stantz and Dr. Egon Spengler handing the torch to the new kids, but Ramis has obviously passed on so Aykroyd is the last man standing (though we assume Ernie Hudson would love to appear as well despite all his mixed feelings about the series and his negative thoughts on the new female approach).
In at least one of those drafts, Aykroyd had tried to shoehorn in roles for Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis — one of the new generation kids would have been the son of Weaver’s who appeared as a baby in “Ghostbusters 2,” but that always felt like a forced idea to include original characters.
As for the female “Ghostbusters” movie, Aykroyd says he’s apparently going to make his own contributions to the, “great great script from Paul Feig which we will work on and make better.” Hmm, wonder if those contributions will be made outside the glass doors of the writer’s room? “It’s [written] as if the first two movies don’t exist and as if this is a whole parallel reality where for the first time the Ghostbusters exist and they’re women in this environment that’s a lot different than the first two,” he explained. “[But] I can tell you, as the originator. I’m very happy with what he’s done. It’s very tasteful. And it needed a reworking.”
Indeed. Well, will we ever see those “conventional” “Ghostbusters” movies? Personally, I’m not holding my breath, but the new “Ghostbusters” lands in theaters July 22, 2016. Watch the interview below.