I just visited with Dan Aykroyd over at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip for an interview for an upcoming feature in the Los Angeles Times (you’ll be able to find it here on the Hero Complex as well). We talked about a wide range of topics, but I didn’t want to wait on this update about the third “Ghostbusters” film, which is moving forward after so many years.
Aykroyd said Sigourney Weaver is on board now, as are the original squad of ectoplasmic specialists — Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. Murray’s presence was the pivot point in making a third film happen. He holds a one-fifth controlling interest in the property rights and has been seen as the most reluctant to return to the paranormal comedy. Aykroyd said that is true but that it’s more nuanced than the public portrayal of the situation.
“I don’t put not making the third movie on Billy. We can’t do that. I’ve been very busy. Harold’s been busy, Ivan’s been busy. And a third script really didn’t coalesce properly. And Billy, you can’t blame an artist for not wanting to do the same thing again. He did two of them, for God’s sake. Although I’m the biggest cheerleader as the originator of the concept but I’ve never begrudged Billy not doing a third movie. I never said he held it up or that he refused. Hey, listen, he’s an artist. You can’t force somebody into it. I’m sorry he never read my third draft because I thought it was pretty good but, look, now we’re at a point that there’s a story that he can accept and that’s going to work, and I think we’re going to be in production fairly soon. We could be in production by winter.”
The script is by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, the writing team behind the upcoming Jack Black/Michael Cera movie “Year One” (directed by Ramis), and Aykroyd is enthused about its premise of a new generation of Ghostbusters taking over the duties of the aging team. Aykroyd said he wishes Ivan Reitman would return to direct the third film in the series but that he’s “too busy as a mega-producer” to take it on; his second choice is Ramis, who, of course, co-wrote the first two “Ghostbusters” films with Aykroyd and has numerous directing credits, most notably “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This.” “He has a lot of things going on, but it would be wonderful to see him do it.”
Aykroyd says he believes the movie will move forward but that he has also learned that “at any second everything could blow up.” The details of story are still in play, but Aykroyd said he’s hoping for a five-member “new generation” team with several female members. “I’d like it to be a passing-of-the-torch movie. Let’s revisit the old characters briefly and happily and have them there as family but let’s pass it on to a new generation.”
Who does Aykroyd think would be good in the jumpsuits? Aykroyd mentioned two names, Alyssa Milano (who is a voice in the upcoming “Ghostbusters” video game) and Eliza Dushku. “I think they’re amazing,” he said. “And I’m excited about the whole idea of getting this done.”
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