Sigourney Weaver ain’t afraid of no internet commenters.
The Ghostbusters actress, who starred in the 1984 original as Dana, tells EW she was shocked by the uproar over the female-fronted 2016 reboot, which starred Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Melissa McCarthy. Weaver says she couldn’t understand why the idea of the movie attracted an intensely negative response — largely from male fans of the original — even before it hit theaters.
“I was very surprised by the backlash,” she says. “I can’t begin to interpret it, frankly. I thought it was very childish and cruel. I guess if you saw the movie as a kid you would feel possessive over it. But come on, things change. Women are at the table, and there are plenty of projects to go around.”
Weaver, who appeared in a cameo at the end of the 2016 version, also praised the actresses for their work in leading the franchise’s return. “It was a good movie, I thought,” she says. “They were splendid in it, and no one’s taking away the original… So I’ll never be quite able to understand what happened except that it was unfortunate.”
Still, the actress says the controversy may have been driven by the freedom of being anonymous on social media, which Weaver avoids. “I think it might have more to do with the internet and showing your secret small self on the internet in a way you’d be embarrassed to be if you were out at a bar with friends, acting like a jerk,” she explains. “So I don’t know, I don’t think this is the end of this kind of thing, because it’s happening in so many areas, personal and professional, to all kinds of businesses.” She sighs. “I thought it was really sad that it happened to that project. But I think they’ve all moved on so hopefully everyone learned something from that.”
The Ghostbusters reboot went on to underperform at the box office, making it unlikely to return for a sequel. In April, director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) told audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival that the backlash was frustrating. “I didn’t realize it was a religion for sort of the generation of boys after me,” he said. “It turned out it was the ultimate boys movie for some weird reason, a lot of guys it was their thing. I didn’t realize to them what a sacrilegious thing I did.”
Feig continued by saying he’d like to return to portraying women in science in the future, and to keep working with comediennes. “It’s important to be able to show women in science, women in STEM. I’d love to do more of that,” he said. “The more you show of women in these professional careers, it really helps.”