Posts tagged #paul feig

The New Ghostbusters Films: Just the Facts

All this editorializing is what keeps our hair up, right Joe?

"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 11, 2015 - c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Feig contacted me directly through my Ghostbusters HQ Twitter to clarify (and I'm comfortable posting this publicly now as it's been confirmed/printed in the Boston Globe).

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

The Ghostbusters Revolution Has Already Been Televised

Great googa mooga... were we actually the first "Ghostbusters" reboot?

Great googa mooga... were we actually the first "Ghostbusters" reboot?

So many are up in arms about news that Paul Feig is going to "reimagine" Ghostbusters with a whole new cast and all-new characters. I, for the record, am excited about the prospect. If you're going to make another Ghostbusters movie, that's the only way to properly do it while remaining respectful to the comedic genius that the original film encapsulated.

But funny enough, many have forgotten that Ghostbusters already received a reboot of sorts in the form of one of DreamWorks' first films released when the studio was in its infant stages. And by the hands of one of Ghostbusters' main contributors, Ivan Reitman. 2001's Evolution was a bit of an enigma to audiences when it was released.

The film shared very similar characteristics to Ghostbusters in the form of wise-cracking professor protagonists who fight to save the world in the name of science, cracking jokes all the while. It's almost as if the two films share very similar DNA to each other. The film even ends up with the heroes riding in a fire truck (in place of the Ghostbusters' familiar Cadillac ambulance) going to save the day.

Evolution so desperately wanted to be Ghostbusters that even the logo and the print ads bared resemblance to the Ghostbusters marketing campaign.  But ultimately, the whole film was really trying to harness that lightning in a bottle but failed to register with a popular audience for one reason or another.

You might be able to chalk it up to the film's release coming in June of 2001: a summer that was jam-packed with mega-hits like Shrek, the first Fast and the Furious film, and a third Jurassic Park film. That same summer was also filled with a lot of similar comedy films aimed at the same audience. And then, given what happened that September, audiences' tastes immediately changed and seeing a firetruck presented in a light like this might not have been at the top of peoples' priorities. The film also received fairly mixed ratings at the time, with many of the critics seeing it as more of a rip-off than an homage.

"Two decades ago, this would have been a great movie. Now, it's just another round of leftovers."
- review c/o Rotten Tomatoes

Regardless of how it was received, I remember seeing Evolution multiple times at the small multiplex that was by the college where I spent my freshman year. And I still enjoy it to this day. It had that same swagger to its step, and a similar sense of chivalry as Ghostbusters, while doing its best to maintain a similar sense of humor.

With a little bit of luck, maybe the new Ghostbusters film can take note of where Evolution succeeded and ultimately failed, in hopes of assuring that it will be a great success both financially and critically.

Blue Sky's Peanuts Trailer: Lucy's Setup the Football - Now What?

While it looks true to the source material, it's probably a safe bet that Snoopy won't be fighting a lawn chair any time soon...

20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Animation (the studio that brought you the Ice Age films and... the Ice Age films) have been long at work on a rebooted CG animation-based Peanuts to introduce the property to a whole-new generation of fans. The first-look trailer was supposed to be released at Thanksgiving, but apparently leaked a little early giving us our first glimpse at the series in motion.

The trailer definitely gets quite a bit right: keeping the animation to the same 2D-plane that's true to the Sunday strips as well as the classic Bill Melendez fueled television specials. The little bit of cloudy marshmallow-like depth that's been added to the almost painted look really makes the animation pop while also feeling familiar, and I actually really dig it. 

But, as many have pointed out, as soon as a Disney Radio sounding pop song kicks in things start to get a little hairy and the trailer ventures into Jim Carrey A Christmas Carol territory. It makes sense that Snoopy's ride is a flight of fancy (no pun intended) but as soon as it becomes a music video inspired "HEY KIDS, PUT ON YOUR 3D GLASSES!" moment, you can't help but shift in your seat a little bit and worry. But all-in-all, I'm feeling pretty positive about what we'll be seeing up on the movie screens this time next year.

Still though, die-hard fans take take comfort in knowing that Charles Schulz's son Craig, whom I actually had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing when working on the You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown DVD bonus features, is one of the co-writers of the film along with his son Bryan Schulz. That's two generations of Schulz family working together to keep the family legacy going. And no stranger to reboots that need to stay true to the source material Paul Feig is producing.

The new Peanuts film will be released November 5, 2015.

Cynicism and Cinema

"How am I supposed to hate this? What is this emotion that I'm feeling that I can't explain?!? Is it, happy?"

I've been making a point the past few months to be less cynical. But with social media it seems to be too easy, and almost encouraged...

In our popular culture as of late, the trend seems to be snark, disgust and outrage no matter what the subject and no matter what the context. Is there a live event going on? Tune into Twitter or your favorite blog for "live snarking." Was something just announced be it a book, album, movie, or video game? Quick, take to the interwebs to shit all over it as fast as you can!

It didn't used to be that way. In fact, it wasn't all that long ago.

"Ugh, moving molecules around in order to transport them from location to location? That's a terrible idea."

I was listening to Grant Morrison's interview on Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast yesterday and it was interesting timing. In the interview, the two discuss how America went from being this happy-go-lucky sky is the limit for our future where Star Trek was our vision of mankind's next steps to a cynical view where essentially we have destroyed everything worth living for and shuffle around in the shambles vision of the future in The Walking Dead. Cynicism has become so prevalent in our culture that we don't even see a distant future for mankind anymore. Our aspiration is just to survive instead of thrive.

What the hell happened to us?

On a whole, has the predominant temperature from being hurt so many times (or on so many various levels) triggered some sort of a defense mechanism where we have to deal with any situation with the snarkiest and most cynical attitude possible? Is this a post-Phantom Menace syndrome where our feelings are attempting to protect themselves from hyping something up so much to a point where expectations are unrealistic by already deeming something terrible so that if it's actually good, it'll be a pleasant surprise? Is it connected to the strange upswing in political correctness and litigious tendencies that put everyone on edge? Is it because now that everyone has a voice through so many outlets that the squeaky wheels are louder?

The reaction isn't necessarily isolated to but has really piqued my curiosity with the most recent news that The Heat writer Katie Dippold would be joining Paul Feig to reboot Ghostbusters with female comedians in starring roles. Not necessarily ALL of the roles (as some are arguing back and forth, nobody has said that this is inspired by Y the Last Man and no testosterone will be present at all in the film). But the outrage seems to be triggered by all sorts of catalysts: it's a reboot, it won't feature the characters from the first two films, female actors will portray roles, Paul Feig wears a suit on set. Okay, that last one I made up but there actually might be someone out there that's angered by that and has taken to expressing so in 140 characters, I haven't checked.

No joke, a long-time fellow fanboy's immediate reaction to the news yesterday was:

"This makes me want to spin around, screaming while firing my space gun like Rocket Raccoon. Gnashing my teeth, rending my garments, pouring fistfuls of dirt on my head."

...oh... but congratulations, Katie for getting a paid writing gig on something still in development which still might never make it in front of cameras. We're happy for you, we swear. - I think is what was left unsaid in that update.

Meet the squeaky clean cast of your new Ghostbusters, bet you want to snark something in 140 characters about it right now? C'mon, admit it.

What happened that, in 1996 when Columbia (then Tri-Star) announced they were teaming with Bohbot to bring us "Super Ghostbusters" which would star a Goth girl, a Latino slacker, an athlete in a wheelchair, and Carlton from Fresh Prince, and my and others' reactions were an immediate, "Holy crap! New Ghostbusters! This sounds awesome! We can't wait!" As a then freshman in high school, I remember running home to watch the precision-set VHS recording that was waiting for me from recording while I was at school on the very first day the show aired. I was excited. It was new. It was different. Holy shit, it was Ghostbusters. Cool! Interestingly, the announcement yesterday that could essentially have mirrored the news in 1996 (that a new writer - yes, the fourth or fifth to be hired on this project by my count - had been hired, that the crew would be comprised of new actors and new characters, maybe one or two of the old guys might come back if they want) was met with this extremely polarized outcry from fanboys, movie blogs, moms, dads and pets all around the world? 

Looking back on it, if present day me heard the same news from 1996 - would my reaction be as positive and optimistic? Or would I immediately violently react to the word "Extreme" being used as often was the trend in the 90s and calling the "diversity" of the cast nothing more than a gimmick? And sadly, if that was the case, would I have watched a cartoon that I actually really enjoyed and ended up making several friends from the production staff through the course of all because I had jumped to such a polarized conclusion?

Is it the arm-chair quarterback mentality that many think they could do better in some shape or form? Is it that the sense of humor in present day 2014 veers toward deprecation? Nerds have always found ways to poke holes and complain, that's nothing new (otherwise the Comic Book Guy on Simpsons would have never become the character that he has on that show). But what is it in the human psyche that causes someone to immediately not like something they know nothing about and haven't given a chance? Judging the so-called book by its cover (no matter how many details of the cover have even been revealed). Where's the fun in that?

I guess I'm trying to wrap my mind around why, after years and years of being strung along and finally being close to it happening, another Ghostbusters film being a possibility is causing fanboy flame wars and heated debate well into the early morning hours instead of excitement of potential? Especially considering how scarce details are for the discourse?

I'm guilty of it myself, and will openly admit to it. I reacted adversely to news that the new Terminator film would be called "Genisys" and immediately took to Twitter to be snarky about it. Aside from casting information and a shot of Arnold's back sitting in a director's chair, I know nothing about the film and it could be the awesomest thing that I've seen in my entire life. But why was my instinct upon hearing the (still ridiculously spelled) title to jump onto social media and shit on it?

Considering that this is my hobby, the distraction from the real world that should be adding joy to my life, why was that initial instinct to hate?