If you’ve been paying attention to movie news over the past decade, you’re aware that Sony Pictures has been trying forever to get a new Ghostbusters movie off the ground. You’re also probably aware that one of the big hold-ups in getting a new Ghostbusters made was Bill Murray’s reluctance to commit to return. In the initial iteration, Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman were developing a reboot that would revolve around new team members but would feature the return of the original Ghostbusters in a mentor capacity. Murray famously said he’d only come back if he could be a ghost, then never got around to reading the script and thus never gave them a final answer.
After a couple of years, Aykroyd and Reitman moved forward without Murray, but even still a Ghostbusters reboot/sequel was tough to crack. Sony Pictures offered the gig to a number of filmmakers, all of who passed. Then the studio offered the film to Paul Feig, the director behind Bridesmaids and The Heat. He wasn’t interested in making a sequel to Ghostbusters, but he had an interesting take on how to continue the franchise: make a new movie starring incredibly funny women that was a total reboot of the property.
This is the version that’s now in front of cameras with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon in the lead roles, and some shocking news arrived a couple of weeks ago: Bill Murray is in the film. Yes, after years of wavering and being uninterested in continuing the franchise, Murray has a role in this new Ghostbusters movie. So what finally changed his mind? Vulture posed this question to the actor recently and he had a very simple—and understandable—answer:
But hadn’t Murray maintained for a long time that he wasn’t interested in donning that proton pack again? “That’s true, I wasn’t,” Murray admitted, though the addition of actresses like Wiig and McCarthy — who he called “a great hope” — changed his mind. “I like those girls a lot,” he said. “I mean, I really do. They are tough to say no to. And Paul is a real nice fellow.”
Murray went on to say that the deliberation process was a lengthy one, but he also considered the fact that his non-involvement might hinder the new film upon release:
“I thought about it for a very long time. Like, many, many months. No, that’s not right. I was seriously thinking about this for years, really … It kept eating at me, and I really respect those girls. And then I started to feel like if I didn’t do this movie, maybe somebody would write a bad review or something, thinking there was some sort of disapproval [on my part].”
I’m not sure a lack of Bill Murray in the film would’ve been seen as Murray not endorsing this new movie—everyone knows he’s been uninterested in returning for years—but it’s true that this new Ghostbusters has certainly gotten a rise out of some franchise fans due to the fact that it stars, you know, ladies. For his part, Murray says he had a blast on set:
“They have such a jolly group, and they are going to have great success with this project. I didn’t want to overshadow [them] or anything, and I feel really good about it.”
It’s still unclear in what capacity Murray’s in the film—is he Venkman? A new character? A ghost?—but I trust Feig implicitly so I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Murray’s involvement fits into the movie.
Click here to catch up on all of our Ghostbusters coverage thus far. The film opens in theaters on July 22, 2016.