January 18, 2022

Ghostbusters by Jason Reitman: “We would never have made this film without the original actors” – Actus Ciné

With “SOS Fantômes – L’Héritage”, the saga launched in 1984 becomes a family affair. Because Jason Reitman succeeds his father Ivan behind the camera, and he returns with us to this film with personal accents.

Like father, like son ! 37 years after Ivan, it’s Jason Reitman who directs an episode of the Ghostbusters saga. A direct sequel where it is about transmission and inheritance. So in front of and behind the camera. While in Paris, the director of Juno spoke with us about this new feature film in which the grandchildren of one of the heroes take up the torch.

Entitled Ghostbusters – The Legacy, the film is being portrayed by Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard. But we also find the original cast, Bill Murray in the lead. To know how they are making their return, you have an appointment in theaters since December 1. As for the way the director approached this opus, it’s just below.

AlloCiné: In 2007 you said you did not want to touch “Ghostbusters”. What made you change your mind?
Jason Reitman : I’ve always had ideas for real Ghostbusters movies. I just didn’t want to spoil them. I didn’t want to ruin everything, or betray my father and the fans of the saga. But I finally came to this story of a 12 year old girl and a 15 year old boy, who are the grandchildren of a ghost hunter.

As they search for pieces of their history in their grandparents’ cellar, they find a Proton pack, the trap, the PK meter, the car, the costumes … Once I have found my door Coming into the franchise, being the son of a ghost hunter myself, I knew what story I had to tell.

Being, as you mentioned, the son of the director of the first two opus, how was your father involved beyond his role as a producer? Did he give you any specific advice?
He gave me advice all the time. The first was: “Make the movie!” (laughs) But beyond that, he’s my storytelling hero. So the advice he was giving me on Ghostbusters was also more general about storytelling.

He would sit next to me on the set, look at the takes and give me ideas for lines, on how to bring the characters in or out, on the shots. As long as I can remember my dad always talked about movies. We have always been able to talk about films for four hours. If you were to come to our Christmas dinner, you would witness this: my dad and I talking about movies all the time. But it is difficult for me to choose just one of the advice he gave me.

It’s almost impossible for me to imagine my life without Ghostbusters

The film is very sincere and personal when it comes to transmission. So much so that it seemed to me that, beyond “Ghostbusters”, it was a love letter for your father that you made.
Yes. It’s a love letter to Ghostbusters which, for me, is inseparable from my father. It is about picking up an inheritance, which speaks to me very well. And there are nods to my father, like this storefront that we can read “Cannibal Girls” [titre du second long métrage réalisé par Ivan Reitman, en 1973, ndlr]. Or talking about Beethoven [dont il était producteur délégué, ndlr].

There are pieces of my father all over the movie. And I did it to make him proud of me. More than with anything I’ve done in my life. When he finally saw him, gave me a hug and told me how proud he was, I knew I had done a good job.

Was it difficult for you to stay true to the original material while making the saga your own?
The greatest gift I have ever had with this movie was being able to sit down and list everything we wanted to see in a Ghostbusters movie. In that sense, it’s really a fan movie. Gil kenan [co-scénariste du film, ndlr] and I wondered what we would put in a Ghostbusters movie.

And we’ve made a list of everything from characters and ghosts to gear. What we wanted to change in the equipment, lines and plans that we wanted to recreate … The list was long and we wondered how to fit everything into the film.

Among those elements is the return of the original cast, which goes beyond the simple cameo. We also have the feeling that the film could not have been made without them, was it the case?
100%. We never would have made this movie without the original cast. We wanted that with this movie you would feel like Christmas morning when you open the presents: you open a present, it’s a Proton pack, then you open another gift, it’s the jumpsuit, the car and ultimately it’s the guys. It’s a movie about nostalgia. A film about our memories, about reconnecting with Ghostbusters, and there is nothing more important than reconnecting with the original cast.

Sony Pictures Releasing France

McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and Jason Reitman on the set

What did the “Ghostbusters” saga represent to you before becoming the director of an episode?
She represented my childhood. I remember being on set and that was my introduction to making movies. And my initiation into horror, because it was the first time that I saw something that really scared me on the screen. Like the ghost of the library [dans la scène d’ouverture du 1, ndlr].

Recently I was at a Directors Guild of America meeting and saw Steven Spielberg, who asked me what I was working on. When I told him I was doing the new Ghostbusters, he said: “The ghost in the library! In the Top 10 creepiest things of all time!” And he’s not wrong because it’s a hell of a thing. It was also my introduction to jump scares.

It is still difficult to define, because the saga represents a large part of my childhood. As someone who both tries to understand what it means to make movies, but also to love movies. I have seen the first Ghostbusters so many times! Even before the arrival of VHS. I went to the cinema. I’m here in Paris today, and I was with my father when he came for the Ghostbusters press tour. And there it is as if I was walking in his footsteps again. As always, moreover. It is almost impossible for me to imagine my life without Ghostbusters.

Are you going to push this idea of ​​following in your father’s footsteps by making a second “Ghostbusters” film?
(he bursts out laughing) I hope so ! We first need to see if people buy into it. And if so, I hope Sony gives us the opportunity to tell more stories. There is a lot we want to tell about this universe. Hope we can do it.

Interview by Maximilien Pierrette in Paris on November 10, 2021