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Ghostbusters - everything you need to know

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Director

Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy. His background is television, most notably the US version of The Office, and Freaks And Geeks, which he created with Judd Apatow. He also directed episodes of Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Mad Men, Weeds and Parks And Recreation.

Paul Feig


Writers

Paul Feig and Katie Dippold. Dippold was a writer and producer of Parks And Recreation, and also penned the screenplay for Feig's The Heat. Several other writers did pre-Feig drafts, for whom see History below.


Story

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) are a pair of unheralded authors who have written a book positing that ghosts are real. A few years later, Gilbert lands a prestigious teaching position at Columbia University, but her book resurfaces and she is laughed out of academia. When ghosts invade Manhattan, Gilbert reunites with Yates, teaming up with a nuclear engineer, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and a subway worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), to save the world from a mysterious evil and powerful demon known as Rowan, who can exercise control over human forms.


Main cast

Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters

Melissa McCarthy is Abby Yates, "paranormal researcher, supernatural scientist and entity tracker".

Kristen Wiig in Ghostbusters

Kristen Wiig is Erin Gilbert, "partical physicist, academic firebrand and spectral warrior".

Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters

Leslie Jones is Patty Tolan, "ghost tracker, municipal historian and metaphysical commando".

Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters

Kate McKinnon is Jillian Holtzman, "nuclear engineer, munitions expert and proton wrangler".

McCarthy and Wiig both have Feig previous: they were both in Bridesmaids and McCarthy was also in The Heat and Spy. Wiig, Jones and McKinnon are all Saturday Night Live alumni: Wiig from 2005 until 2012, McKinnon since 2012 (since when she's won an Emmy nomination for her work on the show), and Jones since 2014. Neil Casey (see below) also did an Emmy-nominated year-long stint as an SNL writer. This means that the new Ghostbusters actually has an even stronger SNL contingent than the original.

Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters

Chris Hemsworth is Kevin, the Ghostbusters' Antipodean secretary.


Supporting cast

Neil Casey is Rowan, the principal villain (as far as we know) and some sort of demonic entity. He can possess people. It looks like Hemsworth gets on the wrong end of that.

Andy García is the Mayor of New York City.

Charles Dance is "the straight man to a bunch of very funny ladies". He told the Radio Times that his character is "not villainous, but he just doesn’t understand and appreciate the whole Ghostbusting thing". If we had to guess - and this is only a guess - we'd peg him as one of Wiig's academic superiors.

Michael Kenneth Williams is Hawkins, an FBI agent in cahoots with the Mayor. This is possibly a character along the lines of Walter Peck, William Atherton's "dickless" Environmental Protection Agency annoyance from the original film.

Slimer is Slimer.

Ghostbusters

We'll also see appearances from Elizabeth Perkins, Cecily Strong, Matt Walsh and real-life news anchor Pat Kiernan.


Cameo appearances

Bill Murray as Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters

Bill Murray: After years of saying he wouldn't do a Ghostbusters 3, or that he'd do it only if he was cast as a ghost, Bill Murray finally consented to a cameo in the re-jigged version. "I like those girls a lot," he said. "They're tough to say no to." He also said that he understood it as an endorsement: that if he hadn't appeared, people might have taken it as a sign of him disapproving of the project. Which he doesn't. Any more.

Dan Aykroyd was the first to announce he'd signed up. "On GB set shooting my scene with funny, beautiful Kristen Wiig," he tweeted last July. "Lady Ghostbusters are adorable, hilarious and badass! Exhilarating!" Rumour has it he plays a cab driver. None of the original cast, it seems, are playing their original characters. Despite the trailer's mention of "30 years ago", this is apparently a completely new beginning. Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston and Zuul never happened.

Dan Aykroyd tweets about his Ghostbusters cameo

Following those two, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts were also confirmed as appearing. Feig lamented that this couldn't be kept secret in the online age. They were supposed to be surprises.

Outside of the original cast, Ozzy Osbourne will play himself in a sequence taking place at a rock concert.

Conspicuous by his absence, sadly, is Rick Moranis. In June, 2013, when we were still talking about Ghostbusters 3, he told Empire that he hadn't entirely discounted the idea. "I guess I'm interested in where Louis Tully is now," he mused. "I sort of see him as being Bernie Madoff's cellmate in jail." By last year, however, he was telling The Hollywood Reporter that a cameo made "no sense". “I wish them well,” he said. “I hope it’s terrific. But why would I do just one day of shooting on something I did 30 years ago?”


History

Dan Aykroyd promoting Ghostbusters Video Game

This could go on all day, so we'll try to keep it brief. Talk of a Ghostbusters 3 goes back at least to 1998. Aykroyd had a draft screenplay by 1999. Subtitled Hellbent, it involved a dark, mirror version of Manhattan called "Manhellton", and the older Ghostbusters handing over the reins to a next generation.

Aykroyd talked about this project whenever he was asked about it over the next decade - which was often. Ivan Reitman was on board to direct, and Harold Ramis was up for more Egon and keen for Ben Stiller to be one of the new guys. Murray had no interest in it at all. Development dragged on and on, with Aykroyd at one point considering doing the film in animation, before eventually giving up and handing all the script drafts to Atari, who loosely adapted it into Ghostbusters: The Video Game in 2009. Most of the original cast - including Murray - did voices for that.

But Aykroyd still wasn't done. When Empire interviewed him in New York in 2009, he was still talking about Ghostbusters 3 - although he was a bit more interested in talking about his vodka. At this point, The Office (US-style)'s co-executive producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky were working on the screenplay, which had everyone quite optimistic until they made Year One with Ramis and nobody liked it. Etan Cohen was brought in next. Then Ramis sadly died, following which Reitman dropped out.

Paul Feig was in talks to direct in August, 2014. He signed the contract in October. Katie Dippold came aboard as writer at the same time, and the new, gender-swapped Ghostbusters as we now know it began to take shape.

Ghostbusters 2016


Controversy

We won't dignify this with more coverage than it deserves, but we'd be remiss not to mention the astonishing, almost Gamergate levels of crybully fanboy misogyny that accompany every social media post and website messageboard connected to this film. Originally, the internet complained that "we don't need a Ghostbusters 3". Then when it became the Feig film, the internet complained that it wasn't Ghostbusters 3. Show us on the doll where Ghostbusters hurt you, internet.

Ghostbusters paper doll - Ray


Connected universe

Disney has Marvel and Star Wars. Warners have Batman, Superman and the rest of DC. Fox has the X-Men, including Deadpool. Universal has its classic monsters roster. Paramount is scheming something with Transformers, G.I. Joe and other Hasbro toys. Sony, having failed to get its ambitious Spider-Man plans underway, is feeling left out of the "connected universe" game, and is thinking that Ghostbusters may be an integral part of the way forward.

There are currently two other Ghostbusters films being talked about (not including a sequel to Feig's film, which will certainly be being discussed behind closed doors). One is an animated film to be directed by commercials man Fletcher Moules. The other is a "gigantic, bold idea" from writer and overseer Drew Pearce, featuring another ghostbusting team. Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt have been mentioned in connection with that one, although both have subsequently said they're not doing it. But something's developing. Ghostbusters as a US-wide operation with franchises in different cities all having different adventures? Could be a thing.

Bear in mind also that Sony are already well into development on a meeting of the Men In Black and Jump Street films. Ghostbusters could absolutely be a logical extention of that thinking. Pearce has written a TV-style "bible" thrashing out the rules of the property. Aykroyd and Reitman are also part of the expanded (and expanding) Ghostbusters "brain trust".


Production

The new Ghostbusters, as ever, is set in New York, but has been filmed in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Shooting took place between June and September, 2015. The cinematographer and production designer are Feig regulars Robert D. Yeoman and Jefferson Sage.


Release date

July 15, 2016.


Trailers

First US trailer:

First international trailer (much the same but with more Hemsworth):

Click here for Empire's exclusive trailer breakdown with Paul Feig.


Posters

Ghostbusters teaser poster

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