Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ghostbusted?

The last time we talked about the long-promised, long-delayed third Ghostbusters movie was just over a year ago, when Harold "Egon" Ramis seemed generally optimistic about its prospects, but after which the matter seemed to go cold.  So what happened between then and now?  Well, to hear Bill Murray tell it, Ramis' Year One happened. Written by the same guys who'd been lined up to pen the Ghostbusters sequel, when that flick took a bath both at the box office and with critics, it seems all the air went out of the GB balloon.  From the middle of a very candid convo with GQ, here's the once-and-former Dr. Peter Venkman on the ever-present Ghostbusters 3 question:
Is the third Ghostbusters movie happening? What's the story with that?
It's all a bunch of crock. It's a crock. There was a story—and I gotta be careful here, I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. When I hurt someone's feelings, I really want to hurt them. [laughs] Harold Ramis said, Oh, I've got these guys, they write on The Office, and they're really funny. They're going to write the next Ghostbusters. And they had just written this movie that he had directed.
Year One.
Year One. Well, I never went to see Year One, but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives. So that dream just vaporized. That was gone. But it's the studio that really wants this thing. It's a franchise. It's a franchise, and they made a whole lot of money on Ghostbusters.
Oh, sure, I remember. The soundtrack. The lunchboxes. The action figures.
Right. And it's still one of the biggest movies of all time. And ever since that story broke, everywhere I go people are like, "So are you gonna make that movie?" I was down in Austin at South by Southwest, and you go at it hard down there—fun but, man, you need to sleep for days afterwards. Anyhow, I got into it one night with a bunch of younger people who were like, Oh, I love Peter Venkman! I grew up with Peter Venkman! We got to talking, and the more we talked about it, the more I thought, Oh Christ, I should just do this thing.
A generation awaits, for sure. You weren't even supposed to play that role, right?
Yeah. Originally it was Belushi. Like a lot of my movies. [beat] God, John died, what was it, twenty-five years ago?
It was '82, right?
Yeah, I think it was '82. I dunno. That part of life is getting fuzzy.
I read that you wanted to play a ghost in the movie. That's kind of brilliant.
Well, I hadn't wanted to do the movie. They kept asking, and I kept saying no. So once upon a time I said, just joking: "If you kill me off in the first reel, then fine, I'll do it." And then supposedly they came up with an idea where they kill me off and I was a ghost in the movie. Kinda clever, really.
But has the Zombieland cameo stolen that gag?
[genuinely confused] But that was a zombie. Not a ghost.
I love that last bit.  It's like dialogue you'd hear in one of his movies.

I still think another Ghostbusters is a foregone conclusion at this point -- whether a sequel, reboot, or whatever.  Just assume it's going to happen.  Like Murray alludes to, this is a franchise that -- in its prime -- left a merchandising footprint that stretched across one decade and into another, and there's no way the studio isn't going to to want to recapture that.  While I'm reasonably certain the majority of fans would prefer a sequel, I can also guarantee you that Sony is looking at how much money they've made off of the Karate Kid remake this summer and thinking, "Hmm...."

By the way, I highly recommend checking out the rest of that interview. Murray has always struck me as someone who's so consistently done a good job for so long that he's already lapped everyone else and  doesn't feel the need to constantly aggrandize himself.  This interview is a testament to that, I think, as he waxes quite openly about his many filmmaking experiences, some good and some not-so-good (such as his involvement in Garfield, behind which there's a very funny story).

1 comment:

ian said...

I was a big, big fan of the first Ghostbusters movie, but the second was disappointing to me. I'd like to see a third if it was done right. That was a great little interview at GQ Zaki - thanks for the link!