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Since it was announced, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot has gotten a considerable (and well-documented) amount of criticism from very vocal online detractors.
During a panel discussion Saturday at the PGA’s annual Produced By Conference, the director talked about the drama that has plagued the production, saying, “We still get called, in the press, a ‘chick flick.’ We are never not referred to as the ‘all-female Ghostbusters,’ which makes me crazy.”
Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones star in the Sony reboot as the eponymous Ghostbusters, taking over the mantle from Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson.
“It was my idea to do it all-female,” explained Feig, who says he was first approached to direct a sequel to the 1984 original. “I wanted to do an origin story and I thought the best way to do it was by doing it with the funniest women I know.”
The film has been widely criticized since the concept and castings were announced two years ago. The online backlash picked back up in March, when the debut trailer hit YouTube, later going on to become the most disliked trailer in YouTube history.
“I have been hit with some of the worst misogynistic stuff,” said Feig, adding that prior to Ghostbusters he was oblivious to the darker sides of the internet. “I used to [hear] that people had haters and I was, like, ‘How does that happen?’”
Added fellow panelist Octavia Spencer about the new Ghostbusters, which is set to hit theaters July 15: “The fact that there are people who take any type of umbrage with [the movie] is mind-boggling to me.”
The discussion, titled “Social Change and the Box Office: The Potential of Gender Parity, Diversity and STEM,” also included Queen of Katwe producer Lydia Dean Pilcher, Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi and USC Annenberg’s Stacy Smith among the panelists, who also talked at length about the lack of onscreen representation when it comes to diverse women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Spencer spoke about her upcoming movie Hidden Figures, in which she stars alongside Taraji P. Henson as the unsung NASA mathematicians who were integral to the program’s first space missions.
“Well, I’m gonna be really honest: I thought it was fiction,” said Spencer of her first experience with Hidden Figures. “When I found out it was true, it hurt me to my core that these women were left out of the retelling of history.”
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