In case you hadn’t heard, or seen the flood of leaked set photos, the Ghostbusters reboot started filming last week in Boston. A third Ghostbusters has been in the pipeline for years, languishing in that stagnant limbo known as development hell, so it’s remarkable that this newest take was even greenlit nevermind sent into production. So to separate the rumored wheat from the chaff, here’s a rundown of what’s happening.
The cast is mainly female… with the exception of Thor
Every major actress in Hollywood was linked to the film early on. Jennifer Lawrence and Rebel Wilson made subtle references to their meetings with director Paul Feig; Gillian Anderson threw her hat into the ring; Jillian Bell and Cecily Strong emerged as strong frontrunners and even Emma Stone was considered, before passing on a role.
The leading cast were confirmed in January, with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones locked in to play the four spook hunters. Naturally, the decision to place four women into a franchise previously dominated by men caused a ruckus. Cries of “Oh, my childhood has been ruined!” and “They’re not Ghostbusters if they’re women” dominated the web, with the latter sentiment originating from one of the first Ghostbusters, Ernie Hudson. He went on to say that if there’s gonna be women in it, they’d at least better be sexy. Unsurprisingly he backpedalled on this outdated hogwash, in light of Feig dubbing the sexist criticism “some of the most vile, misogynistic shit I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Still, Hudson should take some comfort in the casting of Chris Hemsworth. In another spot of gender-swapped roles, the Marvel beefcake known as Thor takes over from the original team’s snarky secretary Janine Melnitz. He’s the receptionist.
The story is pretty similar to the 1984 original
Taking its lead from a leaked script, a brief synopsis posted by The Boston Herald shares a lot of similar plot points as the first.
Years before the film starts, Wiig and McCarthy’s characters - who are rumored to go by the names Erin Gabler and Abby Bergman - co-authored a book entitled Ghosts From Our Past: Literally and Figuratively. Their investigation into the paranormal turned the pair into a laughing stock, driving Gabler into a new line of work as a Professor at Columbia University and Bergman deeper into the realm of all things supernatural. That’s the backstory.
The film opens as Gabler’s secret past catches up with her, with the book’s existence threatening her livelihood as a physics professor. She joins forces again with her former colleague (and her two new assistants, Jillian Holtzmann and Patty Tolan, played by McKinnon and Jones) right as an outbreak of ghosties plague Manhattan.
Basically, we can’t wait to see McCarthy tear down another authority figure.
It’s written and directed by ‘The Heat’ creative team
Feig, who has single-handedly made a comedy star out of McCarthy by giving her killer roles in Bridesmaids and Spy, is writing and directing the film. Joining him at the keys is Parks and Recreation writer Katie Dippold. The pair previously collaborated on the Sandra Bullock-McCarthy cop comedy The Heat; an encouraging indicator of the type of material we can expect to see in Ghostbusters.
And, while that R-rated offering wasn’t scary - unless you count the botched tracheotomy scene - Feig is taking inspiration for the horror side of things from a thriving cultural phenomenon known as The Walking Dead.
There will be canonical nods
Aside from the title, and the similar story beats, the gender-swapped reboot won’t forget where it came from. It’s set in New York City, the setting for the first two outings, and it’s going to weigh out the scares and laughs in equal measure — like the first two.
Original Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd is executive producing and hasn’t yet been ruled out for a cameo. Bill Murray, who played the deadpan Peter Venkman, has been enthusiastic about the film so far - championing the female cast - but it’s unlikely he’ll step in front of the camera for an appearance. One character Feig promises will be back is the mischievous spectre known as Slimer. Despite Sigourney Weaver’s willingness to mo-cap the role, Feig politely declined her offer.
It takes place in yet another shared universe
Earlier in the year, Aykroyd and original producer Ivan Reitman established Ghostcorps. The Sony subsidiary - inspired by Marvel’s cinematic universe - is dedicated to churning out an entire interconnected universe of movies, TV shows and endless merchandise. According to early chatter, Sony intends to charge forward on a second film in this new line of continuity next summer — thought to be in response to the prolific backlash on Feig’s all-female cast. Channing Tatum and man-of-the-hour Chris Pratt are reportedly up for the lead roles, Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo will direct, and Iron Man 3’s Drew Pearce will write. Very testosterone-y.
And it won’t end there. Leaked plans for the movieverse include a total of four features; Feig’s all-female film, the Russos’ Tatum-Pratt film, an Avengers-style crossover and finally a prequel set before all of the above.
Ghostbusters opens July 22, 2016.