Almost four years ago, Empire was in New York, talking to Dan Aykroyd about the Ghostbusters videogame and his thoughts on the gestating Ghostbusters 3. And here we still are, with a lengthy and frank Aykroyd interview in Esquire, in which he updates on Ghostbusters 3's frustrating development. He sounds both resigned and optimistic, basically saying that he and director Ivan Reitman are ready to walk away if something doesn't happen soon, but at the same time enthusing about possible instalments beyond the yet-to-get-going third adventure.
Much of the interview goes over ground that's been covered many times before. The thrust of the story would be the original Ghostbusters handing over to a next generation. All involved are now happy with the current draft of the screenplay by Etan Cohen (but Aykroyd also hopes previous writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg will get a credit, because he still likes what they wrote). And while the door remains open for Bill Murray to come and play, it's almost certainly not happening: possibly directly referring to the hoax from earlier this week, Aykroyd says, "Of course, I'd love Billy to call me tomorrow and say,' Let's go to work and start writing.'"
What's possibly new is that Aykroyd seems on the verge of letting it all go. "This would add quite a bump to Sony's bottom line," he believes. "If they make this movie, in its current shape, they would be looking at a pretty hefty, nine-figure return. And so I'm hoping they get on to move it, but if they don't, I'll be moving on to other things, as will Ivan. We can't wait forever. And now's the time to tell the picture company, and I'd say this quite publically, it's time now to sit down and make this movie, or you will lose your main principals, and you won't be able to make it without us, because we have the rights. If you don't take advantage of that in the next three or four months, I'll see you in Australia, where we'll be selling [Aykroyd's awesome vodka] Crystal Head. The life of Dan Aykroyd and his family and friends will be quite full without Ghostbusters 3."
If Ghostbusters 3 does go ahead however, Aykroyd's plans are big. He says that once the torch has been passed, he'd step out of the series as an actor, remaining aboard as a writer and producer, but that the seeds for an ongoing series are there in the third script. "The movie that Etan has written now - with Ivan strongly collaborating with him, and with me doing revisions as needed, and studio input - totally leads to a next one. It feeds into it very organically," he says.
And where would the series lead? Ultimately to concepts that Aykroyd has been talking about since the abandoned Ghostbusters CG animation Hellbent from a decade ago.
"Man-hell-ttan, and the Ghostbusters in hell, would be so solid," he enthuses, "but we gotta get maybe one or two made before that. I wrote that with Tom Davis, my writing partner, recently deceased. There's classic Tom Davis lines and funny stuff in there, really it's probably the most humorous of all the Ghostbusters scripts that have generated in that last little while. But we'll put the humor into this next one. It can be scary, it can be it can be new people, but it's gotta be funny or it's not worth doing."
As always, watch this space for future developments.