Ghostbusters: Director Paul Feig on the Reboot, Controversy, Working with Funny Women

Interview with Director and Co-Writer Paul Feig

Origins of Reboot

Paul Feig: I got a call from Ivan Reitman asking if I wanted to do another Ghostbusters. You don’t take that lightly, when one of your comedy heroes calls you of one of your favorite movies of all time. But at the same time you go, wow, that’s like being asked to redo it. So it’s terrifying. I needed to make sure that I could make it as good as I could do. And it was really going, if I was going to do this what would be the strongest way I could. That original movie worked because it was the four funniest people surrounded by the funniest people working at that time. And said, if I can do that, if I can create my own super group of funny people. And I said, well, I’m going to use the funniest women that I know. And if I can reboot it, do a new origin story for it so I can kind of make it our own world, then I have energy for that. I took it on.

Amy Pascal, Sony’s Chair, Instrumental Function

Ivan Reitman called me, because he had a sequel script that was written. There is a couple that have been written. And I read those and I couldn’t figure out how to do a sequel because, Harold Ramis had just passed away, Bill I knew didn’t want to do it, and so the thought of just having kind of half the team of Ghostbusters come in and train a new team, I couldn’t, for me I couldn’t get the creative juice on it. But it was Amy Pascal, after I turned it down a couple a times, who had me come to Sony and had lunch with me and just said, this is an amazing franchise just sitting there. And it’s a great vehicle for you, funny people. And that planted the seed in my head. And that’s when I went away and said ok, if I was going to do this how would I do it? And that’s when I came up with the idea for a film about women.

Casting the Four Funny Women

Looking at that original cast, I said, these were the top people in their game, I’ve got to find the same thing. But you have to make sure that when you do an ensemble comedy you are getting four distinct comedic voices that don’t overlap and aren’t redundant. Kate McKinnon was the first person I cast because we had this role of this kind of mad scientist, and Kate is just such a glorious weirdo. And as soon as I got her energy in there I was like, now I know how to build off from this. Because now, you know, that’s why it made sense to have Melissa McCarthy come in. Originally, we were going to have Melissa do the role that Leslie Jones plays, because that was more kind of a headstrong one coming in. but I realized, I’ve had Melissa do that in The Heat, I like her being more the leader of the pack, the defiant nerd, the one who has the faith but is still kind of fair-minded. And then, when I found Leslie Jones it’s like, here’s this amazing energy that can come in as sort of the voice of the audience, and seeing things for the first time and commenting. Kristen was really the last piece of the puzzle even though I’ve worked with her before, because she had sort of the damaged, vulnerable energy of this character who had had the ghosts encounter, had been called crazy her whole life because of it, and decided to become legitimate. Once I had those four figured out, there was just not turning back, I knew I had the right people.