Paul Feig Discusses His All-Female GHOSTBUSTERS Reboot
Yesterday director Paul Feig confirmed that he is officially attached to direct a Ghostbusters reboot that would feature an all-female cast. A third Ghostbusters movie has been in the works for a hell of a long time, and I never imagined that it would end up being a complete reboot. I hate the fact that this is the road that the franchise is going down. As a gigantic fan of the original movie, I just wanted to see the old gang back together again, but that's impossible at this point, and now the original cast and characters don't even matter to the franchise. It's a sad thought.
Feig is known for directing female-led comedies such as Bridesmaids, which was great and The Heat, which wasn't so great. He recently talked to Entertainment Weekly about the Ghostbusters movie, and maybe he can talk you into thinking this is a good idea. Here's how he says the deal all came together,
"I had been contacted by Sony and Ivan a number of months ago when I was in Budapest shooting my new movie Spy. But 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? 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. Then I had lunch with [Sony Pictures co-chairman] Amy Pascal when I got back to town. She was just saying, gosh, nobody wants to do this. I said, yeah, it’s really hard to take that on, especially since it’s 25 years later. how do you come back into a world that’s had these ghosts and all this? It just felt too difficult. How do you do it and not screw it up? But then it was bugging me for the next few days because Ghostbusters is such a great thing and everybody knows it, and it’s such a great world. It’s a shame to just let this thing sit there. I want to see another one. My favorite thing to do is work with funny women. I was like, what if it was an all female cast? If they were all women? Suddenly, my mind kind of exploded: that would be really fun. And then I thought, well, what if we just make it new? It’s not coming into the world that existed before. It’s always hard if the world has gone through this big ghost attack, how do you do it again? I wanted to come into our world where there’s talk of ghosts but they’re not really credible, and so what would happen in our world if this happened today?"
He goes on to explain why he wanted to reboot the franchise saying.
"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?"
I don't know, it seems to me like rebooting the franchise is kind of ruining the memory of the original. It's the same feeling I'd have if someone came along to reboot The Goonies — it just seems insulting. EW then asked if he's "freed from having to have one person who’s the Venkman and so forth," or if he feels like he might "adhere to some of those familiar dynamics?" He replied,
"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. But we want to tell the stories that we would like to tell, which means we want to tell the character arcs that we want to tell, which means we want to start with some of our characters in a different place or with different personalities and things they have to overcome and learn through the experience of this first movie. My number one thing is always about character and what is somebody learning from or transforming through whatever happens to them in the movie. So 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."
At one point after the all-female cast aspect of the movie leaked out on the internet, Bill Murray was asked what his suggestions for the cast would be, and he mentioned Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Linda Cardellini, and Emma Stone. When Feig was asked about his opinion on Murray's dream cast he said,
"It’s an awesome cast. For me there’s so many ways I can go with this because there are so many funny women that’s going to be the hardest thing to narrow down is who to put in. I’ve got a lot of ideas on that but nobody set in stone. That’s part of the fun for me is figuring out what’s the best combo, what’s going to be relevant and fun. Bottom line: I just want the best, funniest cast."
He then revealed that they have a rough outline and basic story for the characters that will be introduced in the story.
"We have a very rough, rough outline that we’re working with, but definitely know the basic story, know what we want the basic characters to do, know what we want the world to do and what the rules of our world are, but nothing I want to discuss obviously. It’s cool. I think it’s a really strong origin story that feels real—as real as a ghost story is. It’s going to be really fun and real. We’ll make it scary and funny."
The director was also asked about a piece that was run on Deadline with the headline “Do We Want An Estrogen-Powered ‘Ghostbusters?’" This is what his reaction to that was:
"I just don’t understand why it’s ever an issue anymore. I’ve promoted both Bridesmaids and The Heat and myself and my cast are still hit constantly with the question, 'will this answer the question of whether women can be funny?' I really cannot believe we’re still having this conversation. Some people accused it of kind of being a gimmick and it’s like, it would be a gimmick if I wasn’t somebody whose brain doesn’t automatically go to like, I want to just do more stuff with women. I just find funny women so great. For me it’s just more of a no-brainer. I just go, what would make me excited to do it? I go: four female Ghostbusters to me is really fun. I want to see that dynamic. I want to see that energy and that type of comedy and them going up against these ghosts and going up against human detractors and rivals and that kind of thing. 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?"
To make things clear, I could care less about the movie having an all female cast, my issue with this is obviously the fact that a classic movie is being rebooted. You can still have a female cast and include some of the old gang. But that's not happening. Basically, what I see happening here is a movie that just wants to have the Ghostbusters brand name, but not have it really be a Ghostbusters movie. Feig goes on to reveal that he would be open to bringing back original cast members, but that they would have to be in different roles, which in my opinion is bullcrap.
"Well, I mean, look, those are my comedy heroes. 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."
Look, It's going to be really hard for me to come to terms with this project because of how attached I am to the original film. I grew up with that movie. It's one of those movies that played a big part in my life and inspired me to want to be a filmmaker. Forgive me for being so negative, but that's where I'm coming from. Maybe over time I'll warm up to the idea and my opinion will change, but this is how I feel about it right now.
The director tries to console the fans of the original in the conclusion of the interview by saying,
"Look, if you go into any project without nerves you’re going to to make a bad project. If you walk into a project going, I’m going to f–king ace this, then expect the worst. At the end of the day, all we want to make is a great movie and people are going to attach a lot of energy to either being nervous about this or being excited about it, and all Katie and I and the rest of the team, who we slowly assemble, can do is just make a great movie that’s super funny, that’s scary, that’s real, that has great characters that people identify with and want to see in these situations. It’s a world that they’ve experienced before in the old ones, but the hope is the minute they sit down they’ll go, 'I love the old one, oh my god, I’m loving this new one.' Everything’s got to live on it’s own merits. It would be terrible if we just go, oh we’re just doing an update where we use the same dynamic and scripts. If we just flop four women into the exact same personalities and roles as original, then that’s lazy filmmaking on my behalf, and who wants to see that? I don’t want to do a shot by shot update of a movie that existed. It’s the difficult thing about remaking a great movie. So that’s why we’re not remaking a great movie. We’re doing our take on it."
What are your thoughts on all of this? Make sure to head on over to EW to read the full interview.