Leslie Jones' 'Ghostbusters' Role Originally Written for Melissa McCarthy
Director Paul Feig shed light on the roots of the actress' controversial character.
In the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot, Leslie Jones plays Patty Tolan, a New York City subway worker — a role originally intended for Melissa McCarthy.
“Actually, when Katie [Dippold, Feig’s co-writer] and I wrote the script, we had written the role with Melissa in mind," Paul Feig told Empire.
Such a nugget is especially interesting since a backlash erupted regarding the character's depiction in the comedy's trailer. Users noted last week that Jones' role as an MTA employee — opposite white actresses Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon, who play scientists — was stereotypical.
"Why can't a regular person be a ghostbuster," Jones asked on Twitter at the time, after sharing a note of gratitude from an actual MTA worker for her character. "Regular People save the world everyday so if I'm the sterotype!! [sic] Then so be it!! We walk among Heroes and take them for granted."
Feig rerouted the role because McCarthy has already played "a brash, larger than life character," in Bridesmaids and beyond. But the opportunity seemed fit for Jones, who is "one of my favorite people on the planet," he said.
“I don’t normally like comedy that’s big and loud, but she is able to pull that off in a way that feels real and it’s her," he explained. "And when I make a movie, I want to find the funniest people I know and once I know what’s the funniest thing about them I want that to be the thing that I put on screen and let shine. This is the role that Leslie can shine comedically in. If you’ve ever seen her do stand-up, it’s just who she is. I wanted to unleash Leslie on the public in the same way we unleashed Melissa on the public in Bridesmaids, with a very showy role.”
Instead, McCarthy is playing Abby Yates, "a fringe scientist who’s studying things that regular science doesn’t necessarily think is legitimate."