Ghostbusters resurrected: Jason Reitman will direct a new film set in the original universe
Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full-trance mediums, the Loch Ness Monster and the theory of Atlantis?
If so, good news — there’s a new Ghostbusters movie in the works.
Entertainment Weekly has learned exclusively that Jason Reitman will direct and co-write an upcoming film set in the world that was saved decades previously by the proton pack-wearing working stiffs in the original 1984 movie, which was directed by his father, Ivan Reitman.
“I’ve always thought of myself as the first Ghostbusters fan, when I was a 6-year-old visiting the set. I wanted to make a movie for all the other fans,” Reitman says. “This is the next chapter in the original franchise. It is not a reboot. What happened in the ‘80s happened in the ‘80s, and this is set in the present day.”
Sony Pictures has dated the film for Summer 2020, with plans to start shooting in a few months.
It’s still too soon to reveal the plot of the screenplay, who the new characters will be, or whether the original actors like Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, or Bill Murray will return. Harold Ramis died in 2014.
“This is very early, and I want the film to unwrap like a present. We have a lot of wonderful surprises and new characters for the audience to meet,” says Reitman, who co-wrote the screenplay with Monster House and Poltergeist remake filmmaker Gil Kenan.
The all-female Ghostbusters movie that director Paul Feig made in 2016 with Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy started its story from scratch, unconnected to the earlier films, so it won’t have ties to this new one. “I have so much respect for what Paul created with those brilliant actresses, and would love to see more stories from them. However, this new movie will follow the trajectory of the original film,” Reitman says.
Reitman, an Oscar-nominee for Up in the Air and Juno, released two films last year — the Charlize Theron motherhood story Tully and the Hugh Jackman political drama The Front Runner.
He grew up idolizing his dad’s big-budget comedies like Stripes, Twins, and Dave, and says he was just as obsessed with Ghostbustersas any other ‘80s kid.
“I love everything about it. The iconography. The music. The tone,” Reitman says. “I remember being on set and seeing them try out the card catalog gag for the first time when the library ghost makes them come flying out. I remember the day they killed Stay Puft and I brought home a hardened piece of foam that just sat on a shelf for years. I was scared there was a terror dog underneath my bed before people knew what a terror dog was.”
Jason, his mother, and sister played panicked residents fleeing the “Spook Central” haunted skyscraper in the first film, but they were ultimately cut. (Here’s a shot of 6-year-old Jason posing with his father on the fractured Manhattan street they constructed.)
A few years later, the boy did get a laugh line in the 1989 sequel, playing a birthday boy who was unimpressed by the Ghostbusters: “My dad says you guys are full of crap.”
When he began making his own movies, starting with 2005’s Thank You for Smoking, Reitman was often asked in interviews if he’d ever want to make his own Ghostbusters movie.
“I think I said, ‘There’d be no busting,’” he recalls with a laugh.
The truth is, he often wondered about making one, too: “I’ve thought about this franchise and it has occupied a piece of my heart for basically as long as I can remember.”
His father will produce the movie. “It will be a passing of the torch both inside and out,” says Ivan, adding that he’s touched his son wanted to join this part of the family business. “It was a decision he had to come to himself. He worked really hard to be independent and developed a wonderful career on his own. So I was quite surprised when he came to me with Gil and said, ‘I know I’ve been saying for 10 years I’m the last person who should make a Ghostbusters movie, but…I have this idea.’ Literally, I was crying by the end of it, it was so emotional and funny.”
Sony is also developing an animated Ghostbusters film, but that will come out after this new live-action project, and a different team will be involved in creating it.
“The Ghostbusters universe is big enough to hold a lot of different stories,” Jason says.