The sci-fi sendup is meant to recall ''Ghostbusters'' -- but don't look for a second sequel to that 1984 comedy

By Liane Bonin
Updated June 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: David Duchovny: Moshe Brakha
  • Movie

If the ads for the sci-fi comedy ”Evolution” seem a bit familiar, it’s not your imagination. The alien-invasion romp features ”X-Files”’ star David Duchovny in a typically spacey role: playing an egghead who finds the truth really IS out there. Also, the film is directed by none other than ”Ghostbusters”’ Ivan Reitman, whose 1984 hit comedy featured another quirky gang of creepy-crawly hunters who save the planet from otherworldly slime. ”Look, there’s no way around the comparisons,’ says star Orlando Jones (”Mad TV”). ”On the poster that came out in December, all it said was, ”Coming this summer: ‘Evolution,’ from the director of ‘Ghostbusters.”’

But ”Ghostbusters” had something that ”Evolution” originally didn’t: enough jokes. Comic Jones and costars Julianne Moore and Seann William Scott (”American Pie”) complained that early versions of the script weren’t funny enough. ”I didn’t like the script until Ivan said I could fall down,” says Moore, who is better known for her dramatic turns (”Hannibal”) than for her screwball comic sensibility. ”We eventually made my character mentally competent but physically awkward.” But Moore’s request to add klutzy qualities to the otherwise dignified scientist she played was met with some reluctance from Reitman. ”I told her, in ‘Junior’ Emma Thompson falls down a lot, and I’m afraid I’ll be accused of defiling the finest actresses of the English language. But I went with it.”

Reitman was more accepting of Scott’s ideas to flesh out his character, a dim-witted firefighter. ”I read the script and thought, gosh, this character is really not defined,” says the actor. ”I was thinking, what the hell am I going to do with him?” Scott eventually gave his lovable idiot the quirk of trying to disguise his lack of expertise by spewing big words that make little sense. He says he modeled his character on Mark Borchardt, the verbose aspiring filmmaker profiled in the indie documentary ”American Movie.”

Jones, meanwhile, was leery of stereotyping. ”Usually there’s a black guy and a white guy in a movie, and one thing happens,” sighs the actor. ”The black guy is from the ghetto and the white dude is from Harvard, and the black dude says, ‘You don’t understand my people,’ and the white dude says ‘Look, I don’t want to hear your Ebonics, buddy.’ The other thing is, the black dude usually dies in the first half hour, and then in the next half hour the woman dies. I just wanted to do a movie where there’s a black and a female who are as much a part of saving the day as the main guy is.”


  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 103 minutes
  • Ivan Reitman