No sense in dragging this out. We know what you clicked on that headline to find.
As I’ve stated at length, I am firmly behind this idea. I prefer original concepts always, but if they really must dredge up the iconography of one of my favorite movies ever, the very least they can do is get a little subversive and switch up the genders. So what else am I thinking?
This is an SNL-heavy group. Three of these ladies are either former or current cast members, and the last is a frequent guest host. That doesn’t have to mean anything, necessarily, but it is noteworthy, as opposed to the original cast, where Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd were the only Not-Ready-For-Primetime Players in the bunch, while Harold Ramis hailed from SCTV (as did Rick Moranis) and Ernie Hudson was a dramatic actor and voice actor. Straight-woman Sigourney Weaver, obviously, was at the time most famous for ALIEN, a horror movie.
New GHOSTBUSTERS director Paul Feig recently said he wanted to go scarier than the original, but with this cast it looks likely that the new movie is bound to be broader (no pun intended, really) than the original was.
It depends upon whose lead they follow. Kristen Wiig is the sure shot. I don’t even know what they’re planning, but hopefully she’s the one with the Bill Murray equivalent role — that is, she’s the romantic lead, and the point-of-view character. She’s the rare kind of comedian who can be funny on screen while still convincing enough as an actual human being, not a cartoon. Not even SNL greats like John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Phil Hartman or Will Ferrell could do that. Again, we’re talking rarefied air, Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy and that’s almost it.
Leslie Jones is a newer SNL cast member, hailing from the stand-up world. She has a huge energy, enough so that she’s made waves after one season in a way many SNL performers don’t get to do. I can’t imagine that Paul Feig and/or whoever else made this casting decision didn’t do so without seeing this one sketch in particular:
Kate McKinnon is maybe the most exciting casting announcement, since we might have expected the others and because she’s the closest thing the current cast has to a Dan Aykroyd or a Gilda Radner or a Phil Hartman — a real oddball with a seemingly limitless capacity for crazy characters and a go-for-broke willingness to take a scene as far as it has to go. She has a real chance to create a unique and bizarre but still believable comedy character here, the same way Harold Ramis did with Egon Spengler.
Here’s the only cause for concern, as I see it:
Melissa McCarthy is a scene-stealer. Paul Feig has made three movies in a row where Melissa McCarthy grabbed the spotlight from her co-stars — that’s not even a criticism, just a point of fact. I’m not a huge fan, but hardly a hater. One of the great strengths of the original GHOSTBUSTERS is how Ivan Reitman managed to juggle some big personalities and to somehow keep the story at the forefront. As wild as Dan Aykroyd was on SNL, that’s how restrained he was in GHOSTBUSTERS. Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis in particular played some pretty out-there characters, but not in a way that distracted too much from what was going on. And Bill Murray ran away with the movie, but he still felt like an active participant in it — his one-liners comment on the action, in a wry and low-energy way, not a big slapstick-y way. The strength of the GHOSTBUSTERS script is how it hands Bill Murray a romantic subplot with the film’s best dramatic actor — it humanizes his character. The whole thing is a real team effort.
Oddly enough, the movie that makes me most optimistic about Melissa McCarthy in a GHOSTBUSTERS movie is another Bill Murray movie, last year’s ST. VINCENT. There she’s the dramatic foil to the comedic lead. There she’s real and relatable. It’s not a great film but she helps make it work. If Melissa McCarthy comes into a GHOSTBUSTERS movie the way she comes into BRIDESMAIDS or IDENTITY THIEF or THE HEAT or TAMMY or Feig’s upcoming SPY, then there’s no way it can ever be remotely scary, and the whole thing will tip too far into comic territory. Them’s the stakes.
Official ruling: This casting is 75% perfect, with the other 25% reserved for cautious optimism.
The GHOSTBUSTERS she-boot™ starts filming this summer, here in New York.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
— JON ABRAMS (@jonnyabomb).
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