The surviving cast of Ghostbusters have signed on for slime detail. Bill Murray, Dan Akyroyd and co. will be picking up their proton packs and teaming up for the first time since 1989, in Jason Reitman’s much-anticipated Ghostbusters 2020.
Star Dan Aykroyd announced the news in an interview on The Gregg Hill Show. Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore) previously said he was involved, but this confirms what fans had been hoping for – Murray, Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett) and Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz), together with Hudson, have all been working on set.
Aykroyd spoke in glowing terms about the latest resurrection, describing “a beautiful, heartfelt script that takes the real DNA from the first two movies and transfers that directly to the third, the next generation.” That next generation is Ant-Man Paul Rudd, together with Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard and young actress Mckenna Grace.
All 3 are familiar with things that go bump in the night – early in his career Rudd faced Michael Myers in Halloween 6. And aside from Wolfhard battling creatures from the Upside Down in Stranger Things, Grace has starred in Annabelle Comes Home and The Haunting of Hill House.
Story-wise, the action appears to move away from the Ghostbusters’ traditional stamping ground of New York and into a quieter, residential setting. Rudd is reportedly playing a teacher. The sight of the infamous Ecto-1 under a tarpaulin in the teaser trailer suggests a group rediscovering the notorious team.
Director Jason Reitman (Juno) is the son of original Ghostbusters helmer Ivan, and many feel he’s an apt choice to continue the legacy. He co-wrote the screenplay with Gil Kenan. Columbia Pictures and Reitman Sr produce. Ghost Corps, co-headed by Aykroyd, are also credited.
Reitman tantalized fans with some info at a 35th anniversary Ghostbusters fan event. He referred to it as “a love letter to the original movie”. The starting point was the idea of “a 12 year old girl. I didn’t know who she was or why she popped into my head, but I saw her with a proton pack in her hand. And I wrote this story… And eventually I knew this movie that I needed to make, that I needed to write.”
There are 2 noticeable absences from the credits. Harold Ramis, who played spook-slapping genius Egon Spengler, passed away in 2014. And Rick Moranis has been virtually retired from showbusiness since 1997, though could be persuaded to reprise Louis Tully.
A third adventure for the classic line up has been in the offing for decades. Following an attempt to reboot the franchise in 2016 with an all-female cast, it seemed the brand was as dormant as Gozer the Gozerian.
Aykroyd was the most vocal about a third chapter, often talking about a new team of Busters. The franchise has spawned animated series, comic books, novels, video games, toys and other merchandise. Slimer, the mischievous green ghoul with a limitless appetite, became a main attraction. However up to this point the movie series hasn’t regained that Eighties momentum.
Murray took some persuading to play the role of Venkman in the first place. Another project of his – W. Somerset Maugham adaptation The Razor’s Edge (1984) – was bankrolled to sweeten the deal. He didn’t act for 4 years after, feeling Ghostbusters had been too big to top. The box office failure of Razor’s Edge also contributed to this decision. When he decided to do Ghostbusters II he found the result disappointing.
He eventually made a cameo in Paul Feig’s 2016 take (as an ill-fated sceptic). “Billy and I showed up to work on that because we had faith in that vision,” Aykroyd revealed. Aykroyd, Weaver, Hudson and Potts also appeared in Feig’s reboot. It isn’t clear how big the veteran casts’ parts will be this time round.
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Ghostbusters 2020 is set for release next July. Studios hope audiences answer the call.