EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is eyeing an early 2015 production start Ghostbusters New Movie in New York on its next installment of Ghostbusters. There is a major change, though. In the wake of the death of his close friend and original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman has decided he won’t direct the film, after all. Instead, Reitman will help Amy Pascal find a new director to take over what everyone hopes will reboot what the studio considers to be one of its most important franchises.

In all the years Sony has tried to get this film up and running, Reitman has been the most stable part of the equation, long locked to direct his third installment. This included the long campaign to get Bill Murray to reprise his signature role, when it became impossible to even get him to read a script that Sony, Reitman and their other architect Dan Aykroyd were happy with. It has been clear for a while that Murray wasn’t going to be part of this, and momentum has been building. Then Ramis, a catalyst for some of the biggest film comedies of the 1970s and ’80s, passed away. That has changed everything.

Reitman spoke exclusively with Deadline on his decision, and I’m going to give him ample room to explain why he changed his mind after so many years of being the primary person pushing this forward.

orig“There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters,” Reitman told me. “I’ve been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who’s writing, what they’re writing, who’s in it, who we will use, and who’s directing. We’d decided not to comment up till now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters.”

Reitman confirmed the Murray chase, one that encompassed not one but two scripts. (more…)