The all-female Ghostbusters reboot was a cultural lightning rod: Vile online trolls didn’t want to see women wear the holy jumpsuits and battled fans who posted photos of little girls carrying proton packs while insisting that on-screen representation was important. Somewhere in the middle of that chaos, the average moviegoer only had to decide if they wanted to spend 12 bucks to see a new Ghostbusters movie, starring four popular comedians and all the living original actors in cameo roles. Screenwriter Katie Dippold was caught in the middle of the maelstrom, and even used the controversy to fuel the actually creepy and very funny movie.
“It was so stressful at the time,” Dippold reflects, speaking to Inverse almost a year later, ahead of the release of her latest movie, Snatched. “I felt like there were so many highs and lows throughout the experience of the film that it was really difficult to enjoy the highs while they were happening. I was so anxious…”
Watching the film’s primary cast — Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig — stay sane under immense pressure was incredible. “They were great at their jobs, and considering how stressful that experience was for me, I realize now how calm they all were,” she says. “If I had been cast in the new Ghostbusters, and my face was going to be onscreen, I’d be stressed out.”
The hatred for 2016’s Ghostbusters lived largely online, and the attacks of mysoginist trolls ranged from inane, like making the film’s trailer the most down-voted YouTube video in history, to the cruel and criminal, as actress Leslie Jones was hacked in the month following the film’s release. Jones was also forced off Twitter temporarily by messages calling her a “gorilla,”
For many, it feels like a huge disappointment that franchise creator Ivan Reitman is rumored to be moving forward with a Ghostbusters cartoon and perhaps another live-action reboot, this time starring men (again).
Dippold shrugs at that prospect. “I don’t know,” she says, “I didn’t create Ghostbusters. I really only had two goals for writing the film, and those were fulfilling the part of me that’s always been obsessed with creepy, spooky things, and making the people from the original film happy,” she says.
She adds that Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd were “magical” on set; in fact, the three living, original Ghostbusters and their co-star Sigourney Weaver spoke excitedly about the reboot, in addition to appearing in the film themselves. “It never felt like my baby,” Dippold says. “I was so lucky to tell a story in a world I love so much. I love our characters and would love to see them in a totally new story.”
Dippold’s role in any upcoming Ghostbusters follow-ups is a bit up in the air, but she’s been staying busy with creepy material nonetheless. This fall, a tweet of Dippold wearing a full Babadook costume to a Halloween party went viral when she posted it, and she says it was just one moment in a lifetime full of costumed, ghostly moments.
“I remember going into the kitchen to get a glass of wine that night,” Dippold says, “and after a few minutes of speaking with my friend, she said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this. I can’t talk to you when you look like this.’”
Her friends and boyfriend are accustomed to her antics by now, though. “I will never not dress up for Halloween,” she says, “even if I’m sitting at home by myself. My poor boyfriend’s Halloweens always start the same way: he’s watching something on TV and then seems something out of the corner of his eye. He turns, and it’s me again, wearing something horrible and watching him through the window of our apartment.”
Though that would have been enough to cement Dippold’s creep cred, she continues. “One year at a Halloween store, I saw a full blue bodysuit, face and hands, and I knew it was the exact color of our hallway paint,” she recalls. “I saw it, thought, goldmine, immediately bought it, and brought it home. I stood in the hall while my boyfriend came home, took a shower, and walked past me. I whispered, ‘Drew…’ after he was far enough away so he wouldn’t get scared and start swinging. He froze, slowly turned, saw me, and said, ‘Oh … my god.’ We moved into a new place, and I recently bought a second, fully white bodysuit.”
Though Dippold says Jennifer Kent, director of The Babadook didn’t reach out regarding her viral tweet, she’d love to meet her one day. It’s clear that Katie Dippold also has at least a few more great horror comedies in her, too.Photos via Columbia Pictures, Getty Images / Craig Barritt