‘Ghostbusters’: Paul Feig Breaks Down the Trailer, Talks Practical Ghosts and His GIF-able Cast

     March 9, 2016

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As with everything Ghostbusters-related, the first trailer for the film was scrutinized quite heavily by the public. It was funny! It wasn’t funny enough! The ghosts look great! The visuals look like Pixels! Divisive appears to be the name of the game here, but a new international trailer was unveiled online today that seems to have garnered a more universally positive response, thanks to some well-timed jokes and a hefty dose of Chris Hemsworth.

And in concert with the trailer release, director/co-writer Paul Feig sat down with the folks at Empire to break down the trailer, addressing some of the fan complaints and revealing some interesting tidbits about the highly anticipated new film. For those confused by the opening titles that some took to mean this was a sequel, not a reboot, Feig explains it was Sony’s desire to acknowledge what came before:


“Yeah, this is a reboot. The studio felt that they wanted to nod to the audience that we’re not pretending that those other films didn’t exist. We’re not saying, hey, we invented Ghostbusters! We know we didn’t invent Ghostbusters. I wish I could say that. To me, it’s one of the greatest ideas in movie comedy, to have four funny people fight the paranormal with science. That’s why I wanted to do a new one.”

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Image via Sony

The breakout of the film already seems to be Kate McKinnon’s charismatic Holtzmann, and Feig is definitely aware of your GIFs:

“She’s the giffiest of all our people,” laughs Feig. “Kate is one of the most inventive comedic actors I’ve ever worked with. We had one character who was the weirdo, and if you know Kate, who I know and love, she’s a weirdo! So it was really fun to let her do her thing.”

While the casting process for Ghostbusters was heavily covered, with rumors swirling about potential lineups, we all pretty much assumed the filmmaker would be reteaming with his Bridesmaids and The Heat star Melissa McCarthy for the high-profile reboot. We were right, but McCarthy was initially eyed to play Leslie Jones’ character:

“Actually, when Katie [Dippold, Feig’s co-writer] and I wrote the script, we had written the role with Melissa in mind, but then I thought I’ve seen Melissa play a brash, larger than life character. She’s done it in my movies before!”

Feig’s not wrong, and not only does McCarthy get to play against type, but it paved the wave for SNL standout Jones to enter the ensemble. Feig admits her “brand” of comedy isn’t normally his thing, but there’s something about Jones that makes it work:

“I don’t normally like comedy that’s big and loud, but she is able to pull that off in a way that feels real and it’s her. And when I make a movie, I want to find the funniest people I know and once I know what’s the funniest thing about them I want that to be the thing that I put on screen and let shine. This is the role that Leslie can shine comedically in. If you’ve ever seen her do stand-up, it’s just who she is. I wanted to unleash Leslie on the public in the same way we unleashed Melissa on the public in Bridesmaids, with a very showy role.”


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Image via Sony Pictures

Judging by the Australian trailer, he succeeded. And what about Kristen Wiig, who appears to be playing the introvert of the group? Feig reveals there will be a bit of evolution to Dr. Erin Gilbert’s arc:

“Kristen’s comedic energy is so internally conflicted and always slightly in turmoil, but always trying to see the positives. She, in the movie, is the character that probably goes through the biggest change. She has the most to prove. There are few people funnier than Miss Kristen Wiig. There are few people funnier than the four people in the movie, in my humble opinion.”

As for the film’s paranormal activity, the visuals on display in the trailers are mighty promising, and Feig says that contrary to what some believe, the ghosts—including Slimer—were mostly done with practical effects:

“Most of the ghosts in our movie are played by real people who were on the set. That is not a fully CG image,” says Feig of the library ghost. “Basically, we have this new system we use with LED lights, and we put the actor in full costume and make-up and they’re covered with these LED lights that throw light interaction onto the actors and the environment. Then we’re just augmenting with CG to make it a little more spectral. I think some people were accusing it of being full CG. It’s not. I’ve got comedic actors who shine when they’re interacting with actual people. I don’t want them acting with tennis balls. Tennis balls are rarely funny.”

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Image via Sony Pictures

The filmmaker said that while Ghostbusters is decidedly science-fiction, what he liked about the original films is that they felt grounded in science, which is something he wanted to maintain for the new movie:

 “I wanted to base this movie as scientifically as possible. That’s what I loved about the first two movies, the science. They were trying to confront the paranormal with science. So we started thinking, what are ghosts, scientifically? They’re the energy of dead people who haven’t gone to the other side or haven’t dissipated, so that to me is what would come back if ghosts were getting energised, if there were something happening that could do that. If you believe in that sort of thing, New York must be filled with the spirits of dead people, so that’s what that seemed more realistic for a ghost story. We’ve got other things in there too, but to me the most interesting thing is that ghosts are dead people who come back… no matter how long ago they died.”


And then there’s Kevin, the Ghostbusters’ assistant played by Chris Hemsworth. While Feig admits he normally eschews romance in his films, there was no denying the sex appeal of the Marvel actor:

“In my movies I tend to steer away from romance. When you make movies with women, it feels like they get pigeonholed in that, but there’s no denying that when Chris Hemsworth walked on the set, pretty much every woman on the set lost their mind. It was fun playing with that in the way we did. Kristen wanted to play with that. Is there a romance on the horizon? Who knows?”

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Image via Sony Pictures

Finally, Feig revealed that there will be a variety of weapons used by the characters in the film, not just the traditional proton packs:

“For me, it was very important. You can only watch someone firing a proton wand so many times before you’ve seen that enough. Holtzmann is designing a lot of equipment for them. I’m a huge hardware geek and always have been. That was one of the first things that drew me to this, that we could invent a bunch of new technology for it.”

Feig teased some more, potentially spoilery stuff in the full breakdown, but he seems to have a really solid handle on this property as a filmmaker, and it feels like he’s approaching this reboot in the best way possible. Here’s hoping this long-awaited redo is worth the wait. Ghostbusters opens in theaters on July 15th.

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