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With the first trailer for Sony’s hugely anticipated new Ghostbusters debuting online today, director Paul Feig said the film’s marketing isn’t going to concern itself with the objections that have popped up on some quarters of the Internet about four women taking over Ghostbusting duties. “We don’t address it,” he said Wednesday, as the studio staged an elaborate preview of the trailer to journalists and several dozen fans on its Culver City lot. “I just wanted the funniest people, and the funniest people I know are these women. It shouldn’t be about that. Ghostbusters is for everybody.”
Ivan Reitman, who directed the 1984 original and is serving as a producer on the new incarnation, underscored that point. Comparing his reaction to the new film to what he felt watching the original Ghostbusters marching down Madison Avenue, he said, “I got the same feeling when I saw these four women. It wasn’t about gender. It was something really startling about those four together.”
Following a screening of the trailer — it played twice at the request of the stoked fans — Feig, Reitman and Katie Dippold, who co-wrote the script with Feig, answered questions about the reboot. The trio offered hints at what to expect in the new movie while sharing their nostalgia for the classic comedy, which starred Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis as three scientists who start a business catching ghosts in New York.
“My history with the movie goes back to its opening night. I was in film school,” said Feig. “I was a comedy fan, but I had not seen something like this — combining comedy with science and the supernatural and action. When Ivan asked if I would be interested in doing a new one, it blew my mind. I love the idea that a new generation is going to have their own Ghostbusters. … It was important to capture the heart of what we loved about the original but also bring something new.”
The trailer, set in New York, introduces the new team of Ghostbusters, played by Melissa McCarthy, as an expert in the paranormal; Kristen Wiig, as a particle physicist; Kate McKinnon, as a nuclear engineer; and Leslie Jones as someone who knows New York.
“It was important, like in the original, to have the everyman,” Dippold said of Jones’ character. Feig related that he wanted the actresses to complement one another, so “Kristen brings vulnerability. Melissa’s character is headstrong. Kate is the weirdo-nut and Leslie is powerful.”
The trailer also features an Ecto-1 Ghostbusters vehicle, Proton Packs — and Wiig’s character gets slimed. “You know the iconography,” Feig said. “Slimer makes an appearance. Most of them show up but in a way that’s surprising.”
The director recalled that in creating the ghosts, he “wanted to keep the main ghosts humanoid, especially for the early interactions … though you’ll see all types of ghosts.” In the trailer, a ghost also takes on human form.
As for the music, Feig confirmed, “You’ll definitely hear the Ghostbusters song You can’t do Ghostbusters without it. … There’s an awesome new version of it. And Teddy Shapiro, who did Spy, is doing an amazing theme. I wanted it to be spooky, gothic and cool.”
Reitman summed up how he was feeling about the reboot, which hits theaters on July 22: “I can’t believe it was about 32 years ago when we [Ackroyd and Ramis] crafted what became Ghostbusters in Martha’s Vineyard. … What makes me happiest is it seemed to touch people in a special place. And the movie hung in there all these years. We always wanted to do another Ghostbusters, and we got lucky. A man came along with an idea to make it fresh and special and the kind of movie the first movie was.”
The project started with Reitman directing a sequel with the original cast, but there were several setbacks. When Ramis died in early 2014, Reitman left his role as director. Feig stepped in to helm the project with the four female Ghostbusters.
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