The Ghostbusters remake: Why it's a ghoul thing

Des Sampson asks the new all-female Ghostbusters team whether they have been spooked by the experience
The new Ghostbusters are Melissa McCarthy,  Kate McKinnon, Kristin Wiig and Leslie Jones (Supplied)
The new Ghostbusters are Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristin Wiig and Leslie Jones (Supplied)

Remaking Ghostbusters, one of the most beloved, iconic films of the 80s, shouldn't have been a scary experience.

However, when Director Paul Feig decided to reboot the comic-horror franchise with an all-female cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, in the lead roles made famous by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, the late Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, it provoked a backlash from fans of the original.

Aykroyd is an executive producer and most of the original cast have cameos in the remake. But how have the new crew coped with the fuss?

Director Paul Feig with cast members Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones.
Director Paul Feig with cast members Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones.

On the backlash of having all-female leads

Melissa McCarthy: I don't think people should see it as being bizarre, just because it happens to have four women in it. After all, it's not the first time four women have done a film together.

To me, it's just as an interesting grouping, so we shouldn't make such a big deal about it, or treat it as an oddity. Really, it's just a funny movie about unlikely heroes who happen to be women. What's the big deal?

Leslie Jones: I don't understand why there's been such a backlash. It seems to me it's always that way when women appear in something different but I don't know why. Is it sexist? Maybe, I'm not sure. All I know is, I don't think like that: I pay more attention to what the project is, not who's in it.

Kristin Wiig: I feel it's almost sexist to say it is a statement to have four women in a movie: we're actors, we're human beings, four women do stuff all the time. What's the problem? Saying that, I definitely think there need to be more movies made with women in them, for sure.

Kate McKinnon: There has been a backlash but I don't get it, either. I just can't wait for people to see the movie and enjoy it, because it's really funny. You really don't need to think about the gender politics behind it.

On why do a remake?

MM: Why not? Wouldn't you? If somebody asked you to do it, wouldn't you? It seemed like a blast; it seemed like a great idea to come at it from a fresh angle, with Paul Feig at the helm and he and Katie Dippold writing the script. When I heard who the other three girls were, I thought; "That sounds like a movie I'd want to go see. It sounds fun." I didn't see any negatives to it.

KW: The script was so, so funny and all the little nods to the first two [movies] seemed so clever to me. Knowing that Melissa, Kate and Lesley were going to be in it too meant it was a very easy "yes" for me.

On their memories of the original

MM: I loved it. I thought it was funny, scary and the [special] effects seemed really cool at the time. It was a big part of my childhood.

KW: I loved it too - especially the cast in it, who were amazing. It's a classic for a very good reason.

LJ: Bill Murray was just so damn funny in it. The way he reacted to the scariness with comedy was brilliant. Sigourney Weaver was great too: she was so innocent looking and then she turned into this vixen. I was like, "Whoa, I want to be like her."

KM: I was a foetus when the original came out, so I was a little confused by it as I couldn't hear all of the lines in-utero. But, when I saw it later, I loved it.

On the original cast members' cameos

KW: Getting the original cast on board was beyond special. There's no better support or endorsement than that.

MM: Yeah, it was crazy - and fun. There was something so surreal about having so many of the original cast - almost all of them - and the film crew coming back and being in it. Not only was it incredibly fun, but the 12-year-old, inner version of myself was completely freaking out.

KM: Having Bill Murray there was surreal. He's the king of contained insanity. You can tell that there's so much going on inside him - so much juice - but he's completely straight-faced, which is the funniest thing in the world.

LJ: Yeah, Bill Murray is a master at what he does. I felt very intimidated having to do a scene with him. On the first take I was like; "Oh my God, am I doing this right, am I saying the right thing?" because I was so nervous. I kept looking at him for approval and he wasn't looking back at me, so I kept thinking; "I'm screwing this up."

On memories of the 80s

KW: I remember getting lots of perms. Even when I cut my hair short I still got it permed - big mistake. I also used Sun-In - that stuff you put in your hair to make it lighter. But when you put it in brown hair, like mine, it turns orange, as I soon found out. Luckily, I was already a fan of Annie: The Movie because I ended up looking exactly like her.

MM: It's funny how nostalgic we are about the 80s and how we look back on it so fondly now. Around that time I got my first asymmetrical hair cut, which I thought was so cool. I remember thinking; "Oh, I must look at least 25" but really I only looked about 9. My clothes were pretty forgettable too.

On stunts and being slimed

MM: We did quite a few stunts, especially the big Times Square scene when we're being attacked by loads of ghosts. There were about 35-40 people, on stilts or wires, coming at us from all different angles, flipping over us and under us. That was a hard scene to do. We really had to buckle down and concentrate otherwise we'd have got hurt.

LJ: The stage-diving scenes were great. At first I was a little scared because the mattresses we were jumping on to didn't look like they would hold us -- they looked like they might collapse. But Paul [Feig] was adamant he wouldn't make us do anything he wouldn't do himself. As soon as he said that he turned around and dived right into the mattress with his suit on. After that, I thought; "Well, if he can do that, so can I." KW: I didn't do a lot of stunts but I did get slimed a lot. When I read about, it in the script, I thought; 'Oh cool, I get slimed' and then it kept happening. It's was fun, but the slime was really hard to get off. You can't use water to wash it off, as it makes the slime regenerate and double in size. Instead, you have to wipe it off dry. Needless to say, it was a very long clean-up process.


What: The Ghostbusters remake, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon

Where and when: At New Zealand cinemas from July 14

- TimeOut

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