The reboot of Ghostbusters was always in the mix for years before Paul Feig got his hands on it. In fact, he turned down the gig twice before Amy Pascal from Sony finally convinced him to take on the third movie of the iconic horror comedy franchise — but he didn’t want to make it a straight-up reboot.
“It would be crazy to not pay homage to Ghostbusters,” said Feig. “We wanted to introduce a new team to a new generation.”
He came up with the idea to make the team all-female and with that, he reached out to screenwriter Katie Dippold to co-write the script. Dippold, who Feig worked with on The Heat, first met with him at Comic-Con to talk about teaming up to collaborate on the script.
“I was watching a dog ride back and forth on a motorcycle at Comic-Con when I got the call,” Dippold remembers. “I had to make a decision to stop watching the motorcycle dog to meet with Paul for the lunch meeting.”
The decision to stop watching the mobile canine was a wise decision because when he asked her to work on Ghostbusters, she was immediately on board. “There’s no way I could say no,” she says.
Feig, who is an advocate for putting females in comedy front and center on the big screen, and Dippold, a talented writer who has an affinity for the horror comedy genre, make the perfect team.
At the center of the movie are Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Abby (Melissa McCarthy), two scientists and former BFFs who reunite and try to work through their fractured friendship while trying to prove themselves by saving the city from the supernatural with their new teammates Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty (Leslie Jones) as well as new receptionist Kevin (Chris Hemsworth).
Based on the uber success of Feig’s Bridesmaids, Wiig and McCarthy were huge parts of the movie — and they were a big part of the conversation with Feig and Dippold about the reboot at the Austin Film Festival. It’s a given that the audience will love the comedy duo, so during the presentation, the duo talked about the movie’s breakout characters as well as other bits of info about the movie that you may or may not have known.
Keeping in the spirit of science
Dippold points out that when she was writing the movie, it wasn’t necessarily an “original vs. new” situation. She wanted to capture the spirit of the source material that was in line with the guys from the original movies. Feig wanted to do the same, but for the science, he wanted to take that to another level.
“Unlike Katie, who believes in ghosts, I’m a skeptic,” admits Feig. “If I am going to do something like this, it has to make sense science wise.”
That said, they sought out the help of scientific advisors to help them with the supernatural, the ghost-fighting gadgets and the complex terminology of it all.
“I met with two physicists named Bart at Columbia,” said Dippold. “I talked to them about basic stuff and asked ‘Is there a way to make this make sense?’ And they would answer “No, because that’s not real.”
Dealing with the people who claimed the movie ruined their childhood
It’s no secret that this reboot caused a stir of mixed emotions in the Ghostbusters community. There were fans of the original that were genuinely excited, while the extreme purists thought this reboot to be the end of the world, trolling Dippold and Feig because they had nothing else better to do — but the two managed to handle the insane chatter well.
“It’s weirdly freeing,” said Dippold. “It makes me a little less afraid to try crazy things.”
“None of us took this job to make people mad or to ruin childhoods,” said Feig. “You only can get death threats so many times before you get used to it.”
McCarthy was supposed to be Patty?
Leslie Jones’ character of Patty represented the “everyman” who has an iconic New York City job. Dippold said that she represents the audience. It makes sense and Jones as a great point of view that isn’t all difficult to understand terminology.
But many don’t know that the role was originally conceived for another cast member.
“It was originally written for Melissa (McCarthy),” said Feig. “But we’ve already seen her do that kind of role before (in Bridesmaids).”
Kevin was found on Craigslist
Chris Hemsworth wasn’t found on Craigslist to fill the role of the dim-witted receptionist Kevin, but Feig and Dippold wrote him as a slacker who was hired from Craigslist. Feig, who has the same agent as Hemsworth, found out that he was interested in the new Ghostbusters and they met — and Feig was pleasantly surprised.
“He’s literally charming and can do comedy very well,” said Feig. “I told him just to play himself… but I’m not saying he’s not dumb!”
Glasses with no lenses and Mike Hat
Throughout the movie, Hemsworth has many memorable comedic moments as Kevin — and some of them were improvised. The moment where we find out that Kevin’s glasses didn’t have lenses was the result of removing the lenses due to a glare — which was probably more accidental comedy than improvised. But when Kevin says that his dog’s name is Mike Hat — that was a shining moment of Hemsworth improv.
Still, Hemsworth handsome charm shines through and adds to his character. Erin wasn’t originally supposed to have a crush on him, but Wiig did it so well that they incorporated it into the movie. And Feig was happy on the days when he was shooting… because it was the only time his wife came to set.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer