Well, that femme-centric Ghostbusters reboot is a reality, and upon some reflection, the notion of chicks chasing ghosts is starting to grow on this caveman. Paul Feig is officially aboard to execute his idea to relaunch a franchise that Amy Pascal has salivated 0ver for years dominated by an endless wait for Bill Murray to reprise his Peter Venkman, or at least to acknowledge he had read the sequel script. My pal Borys Kit scooped that Feig will be helped by Katie Dippold, his collaborator on the Melissa McCarthy-Sandra Bullock starrer The Heat. Feig’s potential participation cropped up in August, and I must admit, I reacted like a chauvinist in wanting to preserve the spirit of the original, one of my favorite guy films.
Feig, along with Judd Apatow, has done great things to prove that women can be ferociously funny — Feig in the ballsy comedies Bridesmaids and The Heat. He helped launch Kristen Wiig and McCarthy, among others, as breakout movie stars. McCarthy in particular has been a muse for him; we knew she could act, but it was Feig who helped establish her as the best physical movie comedienne to come along since, well … forever. Feig just finished Spy, a comedy that stars McCarthy and Jason Statham, and already that film has Fox very excited that it will launch a franchise, which is why that studio gave Feigco an overall deal, to hatch R-rated female-driven franchises. Since Feig and Dippold are starting from scratch on the Ghostbusters thing, it will be interesting to see where he is when Spy opens on Memorial Day weekend; Feig likely will have a sequel in the works very soon on that film, too. All of this must give him some solace that there is no sequel to Bridesmaids, mainly because Wiig just didn’t feel like repeating herself. That seems to be a guy thing (Bullock has said no to The Heat sequel). After seeing the top-grossing R-rated guy comedy, The Hangover, borrow so closely from an inspired first film that it seemed more about paydays than comic payoffs, Wiig probably did the right thing.
As did Bill Murray, who clearly is too polite and didn’t have the heart to tell his old Ghostbusters pals Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman (who stepped away from directing and will produce) that he didn’t want to repeat himself by doing a third film, especially after the second one paled compared to the first. Murray avoided the subject for a couple years after being given a script, until the studio finally got the hint and moved on. After seeing Murray’s career performance as the title character in the Theodore Melfi-directed comedy St. Vincent — Murray said at Monday’s Gotham premiere how happy he was to help shape the vision with first-time filmmaker Melfi — it does seem like the moment when a cavemen like myself has to put sentiment aside and make way for a new Ghostbusters vision that probably will make for a fresher film. Maybe it will even be funny, if Wiig isn’t averse to doing a sequel to someone else’s film, and if McCarthy and Feig’s other frequent collaborators spark to getting slimed. But I will not budge on gender changes for other guy classics; I am still against doing a lot of this, like making a Raging Bull redo with Ronda Rousey, a Brian’s Song set in the WNBA or an Animal House at a sorority, as I wrote (and got attacked for by the estrogen set, including several of my colleagues) a few months ago.