It’s 9 a.m. Ghostbusters! Time to watch the trailer of what should be one of summer’s biggest hits. Purists will not be disappointed. You’ve got your riff on Ray Parker’s catchy theme song, you’ve got Slimer and lots of slime, the Ecto-1 is on display, and you’ve got four funny humans earnestly battling ghosts. What more could you ask for?
Director Paul Feig first introduced the trailer to a group of 30+ uber Ghostheads Wednesday morning on the Sony lot in a marketing move that generated a ton of enthusiasm among the most dedicated moviegoers. (The fans, who came from near and far, were all dressed in Ghostbusters gear, complete with proton packs, slime throwers, and even their own version of an Ecto-1.)
Feig was joined by Ivan Reitman, the director of the original Ghostbusters and a producer on the reboot, and Katie Dippold, co-writer of the new film. The three breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Ghostheads demanded to watch the trailer for a second time.
“I’m so happy for today, to have you guys applauding the trailer,” said Dippold during a brief Q&A. “This man [Feig] has put himself out there, getting the worst tweets. So to see this warm energy from the fans means a lot. He’s been thinking of you guys first and foremost.”
So what did we learn about the film, which opens in theaters July 15?
— Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, a particle physicist who works at Columbia and is trying to legitimize herself as a scientist in an environment where parapsychology departments no longer exist on college campuses and no right-minded scientist still believes in ghosts.
— Her old friend, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), is still pursuing her passion for the paranormal despite its illegitimacy as a true academic pursuit. Dippold referred to her as “the real-life Dan Aykroyd. (Aykroyd’s father, Peter, wrote a book called A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters.) Yates works in a basement of a “less than exciting college,” adds Dippold.
— Yates works alongside Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon), an oddball engineer who builds all the crazy contraptions needed to fight ghosts.
— Leslie Jones plays Patty Tolan, a lonely MTA worker who spends most of her days reading non-fiction and joins the team once she has a ghost sighting of her own.
— Chris Hemsworth does more then just look hot in the trailer. He plays the Ghostbusters’ secretary, but he’s not very good at his job. “These women are trying so hard to make this a legitimate business and he’s not the most helpful person to be at the front of that,” says Dippold.
— Feig and Dippold are both giant Ghostbusters fans and they are especially into that green gooey mess, as you can tell by the trailer. “Katie and I just love slime and we actually took it further then the original movie did, “ said Feig with a laugh. “There is something funny about slime and we just like the idea that Kristen’s character gets hit by it first.”
— Most of the ghosts will have a humanoid form. This stems from Feig’s desire to give his actors someone to play off of and to use CG in new ways. “The woman who plays the first ghost, who ecto-projects all over Kristen, that was an actor in an LED suit, in that dress, hoisted up in this thing that picked her up and pushed her out,” he says. “It was important to me that they have that real ghost quality to them.”
— Feig won’t spoil what iconic images beyond Slimer and the Ecto-1 will make an appearance in the reboot, but he promises not to disappoint. “You know the things you love the most,” he says. “Let’s just say they show up in one way or another. And hopefully in ways that are surprising.”
— Feig admits that McCarthy wasn’t a shoo-in for this film despite partnering with her on his last three projects. In fact, the woman he says he cast first, “in his head” was McKinnon as the strange Jillian Holtzman. “She’s the oddball, the weirdo,” he says. “Even on the set, in a middle of a take, I would have no idea what she was going to do.”
— Feig wanted to do a reboot rather than a sequel because, “I didn’t like the idea of them being handed technology,” he says. “I wanted to see it develop. I’m such a tech head. I’m completely geeking out over these proton packs in the front of the theater.”
Feig is still mixing the film and testing jokes, a process he employs on all his comedies. He assures us he will be working right up until the release date to get it right. We hope he does.