"All-female" and "Guy-centric" Ghostbusters. Chances are if you've thrown a rock at the internet lately, you've seen either of those terms in every headline you've come across. But both of those distinctions were given to the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel/reboot/remake/restarts by editorialized comments beginning at their points of origin.
So let's do something, shall we? Let's take a cue from another of Dan Akyroyd's characters that I adore and stick to just the facts... No anonymous sources, no "speculation," no snarky comments.
Here are the direct quotes from those involved without any editorializing:
October 8, 2014 c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Feig announces he is making a new film. Note, he says "will star hilarious women."
October 8, 2014 - c/o Entertainment Weekly - Feig elaborates on his Tweet directly to EW, in his own words.
"I had been contacted by Sony and Ivan a number of months ago when I was in Budapest shooting my new movie Spy. But I was like, I don’t know if I want to take that on because the first two are such classics and just because of how do you do it? Who do you bring in now that Harold’s gone? I know that Bill didn’t want to do it and I love Dan, but it was just like I don’t know how to do it. Then I had lunch with [Sony Pictures co-chairman] Amy Pascal when I got back to town. She was just saying, gosh, nobody wants to do this. I said, yeah, it’s really hard to take that on, especially since it’s 25 years later. how do you come back into a world that’s had these ghosts and all this? It just felt too difficult. How do you do it and not screw it up? But then it was bugging me for the next few days because Ghostbusters is such a great thing and everybody knows it, and it’s such a great world. It’s a shame to just let this thing sit there. I want to see another one. My favorite thing to do is work with funny women. I was like, what if it was an all female cast? If they were all women? Suddenly, my mind kind of exploded: that would be really fun. And then I thought, well, what if we just make it new? It’s not coming into the world that existed before. It’s always hard if the world has gone through this big ghost attack, how do you do it again? I wanted to come into our world where there’s talk of ghosts but they’re not really credible, and so what would happen in our world if this happened today?"
"We want to have fun with giving nods to what came before, but we don’t want to be bound by it because Katie and I already have talked at length and we have really fun ideas for things. But we want to tell the stories that we would like to tell, which means we want to tell the character arcs that we want to tell, which means we want to start with some of our characters in a different place or with different personalities and things they have to overcome and learn through the experience of this first movie. My number one thing is always about character and what is somebody learning from or transforming through whatever happens to them in the movie. So I think there will be definitely room to play with that. We want to do clever nods to it, but not cloying nods to it. We want to have the ability to really bring it into modern day."
"We have a very rough, rough outline that we’re working with, but definitely know the basic story, know what we want the basic characters to do, know what we want the world to do and what the rules of our world are, but nothing I want to discuss obviously. It’s cool. I think it’s a really strong origin story that feels real—as real as a ghost story is. It’s going to be really fun and real. We’ll make it scary and funny."
"Everything is up for grabs right now. I look at this the same way a superhero movie launches where it’s always fun to see, like, what are they going to do with the costumes this time? What are they going to do with the hardware this time? It’s not going to be, here is the exact same stuff. It’s also not going to go, screw you, if you like that stuff, it’s all completely different. We’re going to have fun with it, but again, bring it into our time period. I’m a big hardware nerd when it comes to sci-fi and all of that so I love all the gear and I love all that. We’re really going to have fun with playing with the science of it. I think fans will be very happy with what we do because it has fun with what came before but it’s new. It’s just a new, fun take on it."
"I just don’t understand why it’s ever an issue anymore. I’ve promoted both Bridesmaids and The Heat and myself and my cast are still hit constantly with the question, “will this answer the question of whether women can be funny?” I really cannot believe we’re still having this conversation. Some people accused it of kind of being a gimmick and it’s like, it would be a gimmick if I wasn’t somebody whose brain doesn’t automatically go to like, I want to just do more stuff with women. I just find funny women so great. For me it’s just more of a no-brainer. I just go, what would make me excited to do it? I go: four female Ghostbusters to me is really fun. I want to see that dynamic. I want to see that energy and that type of comedy and them going up against these ghosts and going up against human detractors and rivals and that kind of thing. When people accuse it of being a gimmick I go, why is a movie starring women considered a gimmick and a movie starring men is just a normal movie?"
"At the end of the day, all we want to make is a great movie and people are going to attach a lot of energy to either being nervous about this or being excited about it, and all Katie and I and the rest of the team, who we slowly assemble, can do is just make a great movie that’s super funny, that’s scary, that’s real, that has great characters that people identify with and want to see in these situations. It’s a world that they’ve experienced before in the old ones, but the hope is the minute they sit down they’ll go, “I love the old one, oh my god, I’m loving this new one.” Everything’s got to live on it’s own merits. It would be terrible if we just go, oh we’re just doing an update where we use the same dynamic and scripts. If we just flop four women into the exact same personalities and roles as original, then that’s lazy filmmaking on my behalf, and who wants to see that? I don’t want to do a shot by shot update of a movie that existed. It’s the difficult thing about remaking a great movie. So that’s why we’re not remaking a great movie. We’re doing our take on it."
January 15, 2015 - c/o Empire Magazine - Paul Feig talks directly to Empire. In his own words:
"It came out publically that we’re in talks with Melissa but there’s a lot to work out."
"There’s a lot of haters and I get it. The problem with the internet is that if 500 really angry men start bombarding me, I think, ‘Oh god, everybody hates this movie,’ but then you realise that it’s only 500 people. I don’t block anyone out or not read that stuff because I want to know what the most hardcore hater fan’s problem is."
"A lot of people ask why I didn’t create my own thing but Ghostbusters never ran out of steam, it’s such a great idea. It’s such a fun franchise so why not bring it to a new generation? The old movie is never going to not exist. It’s not my plan to erase every copy! Hopefully they can all live together."
"We’ve been working on laptops and passing flash drives back and forth. It’s very old school. We’re using paper, god forbid."
January 27, 2015 - c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Note, this is not an official announcement. It is not confirmation. It is a photo presented by Feig without anecdote.
January 27, 2015 - c/o Sony-run Sony Pictures Twitter. - Release date announced.
January 28, 2015 - c/o Dan Aykroyd direct statement to The Hollywood Reporter - Aykroyd's official press response toward any of the above. No specifics given.
"The Aykroyd family is delighted by this inheritance of the ‘Ghostbusters’ torch by these most magnificent women in comedy. My great grandfather, Dr. Sam Aykroyd, the original Ghostbuster, was a man who empowered women in his day, and this is a beautiful development in the legacy of our family business."
January 29, 2015 - c/o Ernie Hudson Twitter/Hollywood Reporter
"Four fiercely funny, foxy, females busting ghosts ... phenomenal!"
Hudson also retweeted a PR post referring to third-party rumors:
February 17, 2015 - c/o Howard Stern Show - Dan Aykroyd appears as guest. In his own words transcribed from radio interview.
"I'm very, very happy. I've got three daughters. I'm all for female empowerment. The thing needed to be stripped down. (Stumbles) As I've said take the Ecto car. Well the Ecto car now has a chassis and wheels, it needs new engine, it needs a new body. I wrote a version of it which we may end up shooting one time. It'll be different than the all-female. But I did write a Ghostbusters 3 and it exists as a script."
"Paul Feig's script is funny."
February 24, 2015 - c/o Variety - Tom Rothman is hired as new Sony Chairman of Motion Pictures, replacing Amy Pascal. He does not specifically talk Ghostbusters but comments on franchises being his priority. In Rothman's own words:
"Every studio needs franchises. That was the case when we took over at Fox and that took time to build it up and it will take time here. It’s very important but it’s equally important to have a diverse slate of films that perform profitably."
March 9, 2015 - c/o Deadline - New production company formed called Ghost Corps. Note, direct quotes from article only. Also note, original article was mysteriously revised and corrected without any explanation late in the day March 9, 2015. Note, casting and/or movie release plan not discussed. Ghost Corps' mission statement, in Ivan Reitman's own words:
"We want to expand the Ghostbusters universe in ways that will include different films, TV shows, merchandise, all things that are part of modern filmed entertainment. This is a branded entertainment, a scary supernatural premise mixed with comedy. Paul Feig’s film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July 2016. He’s got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that. Drew will start writing and the hope is to be ready for the Russo Brothers’ next window next summer to shoot, with the movie coming out the following year. It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be a lot of wonderful movies. My primary focus will be to build the Ghostbusters into the universe it always promised it might become. The original film is beloved, as is the cast, and we hope to create films we will continue to love."
"Sometimes things happen at the speed they are supposed to happen. The deals were so strong on that second movie that the franchise became frozen in place 25 years. Nothing got done, we all had the power to block whatever we didn’t like, but we finally got together and found a way.”
March 10, 2015 - c/o writer Drew Pearce's Twitter. Direct comments and responses from Pearce in his own words:
March 13, 2015 - c/o Variety - Paul Feig discusses the various films directly with Variety. In his words:
“The Internet is really funny – I love it, but I hate it at the same time. The first wave when you make an announcement like that is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone’s so happy and you’re like, This is great. Then comes the second wave and you’re like, Oh my God. Some of the most vile, misogynistic sh** I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“The biggest thing I’ve heard for the last four months is, ‘Thanks for ruining my childhood.’ It’s going to be on my tombstone when I die. It’s so dramatic. Honestly, the only way I could ruin your childhood is if I got into a time machine and went back and made you an orphan.”
ON GHOST CORPS ANNOUNCEMENT: “I’d heard some rumblings about it. All I know is my ladies are going to kick ass and I would not want to go into battle without them.”
Will continue to update with direct quotes and statements as they're made...
Update 1: 3/11/15 3:27pm - Corrected Tom Rothman title and Amy Pascal spelling. / Added Howard Stern quotes from Dan Aykroyd. / 6:40pm - Added Ernie Hudson response from 1/29/15
Update 2: 3/14/14 1:00pm - Added Paul Feig quotes to Variety at SXSW