CULTURE

Go Behind the Scenes of “Ghostbusters” with Paul Feig


“I’m relieved,” Paul Feig said late last week and meant it. The director’s long-awaited, much-debated, all-female reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise has been a misogyny magnet on the Internet since the production was announced in 2014, and it is finally—mercifully, even—in theaters on Friday. The vitriol of fanboys who feel that Feig has painted their private clubhouse pink has been so shrill and unceasing that he felt compelled to build a little meta-textual joke into a scene in the movie, in which the Ghostbusters gather around a computer to read online comments about their activities: “This one says, ‘Ain’t no bitches goin’ to bust no ghosts.'” “We’ve moved past all that,” Feig said. “Now we’re onto the part where everyone actually sees the movie.” Like the 1984 original with Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, and Dan Akyroyd, Feig has cast an all-star roster of comedians. “It’s such a great vehicle for the funniest people working,” Feig explained. They just happen to be women: Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones are past or present Saturday Night Live cast members; and Melissa McCarthy, a regular Feig player (The Heat, Spy), is comedy’s most bankable woman. (The reboot, which was produced by Ivan Reitman, who directed the original, was co-written by Feig and rising star Katie Dippold.) In the age of The Avengers, Feig has taken what are some of the very best parts of those superhero movies—namely, the banter and camaraderie between stars—and built a blockbuster around it, rather than the other way around. “What I love about this idea is that it’s a real-life superhero movie,” Feig said. “They’re the garage band of superheroes.” Not that we should fail to give Chris Hemsworth his due as the ditzy receptionist Kevin. Unexpectedly, Thor comes close to stealing every scene he is in—considering the comedic competition, no small feat—and might soon be giving Channing Tatum a run for the title of Hollywood’s most lovably dumb lunkhead (onscreen, of course). “It’s really not that fair,” Feig said. “You can’t be that handsome, that talented, and that funny.” At its heart, once you get past the retro-looking special effects and property damage, Ghostbusters is about female friendship. It’s not so different from Feig’s 2011 film Bridesmaidsand discouragingly, the inane, ignorant chatter around that release has not become much more evolved this time around. “It was annoying when it happened during Bridesmaids, but at least there was the excuse that there hadn’t been movies with that many women starring in them in a long time then,” Feig recalled. “Now it’s six years later and we’re still having the same conversation. It just shows how slowly Hollywood is moving forward.”

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“The great thing about funny people is that there is a weird camaraderie. Unless they’re complete divas, which most people in comedy aren’t just because you can’t be. You’re only really as funny as the people you’re working with.”

Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures.

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“Who knew Chris Hemsworth was this good at comedy? The first day he gets to set, and he just starts improvising. Half the jokes in his first scene are his.”

Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures.

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“This is Leslie Jones’s first day. This really encapsulates what it was like working with them every single day. We just laugh all the time.”

Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures.

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“This is the final version of the gun. I wanted to show how they kept learning how to make them smaller from the field tests, but this is the hero gun in the third act, so I wanted it to look badass.”

Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures.

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“Me with my DP Bob Yeoman. He shoots all of Wes Anderson’s movie, and everything I’ve done since ‘Bridesmaids’. We wanted the movie to be richer looking, so it doesn’t play as ‘comedy’.”

Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures.

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“This was special. It was halfway through filming, and it was time to put out a hero shot for the Internet. I had to jump in.”

Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures.

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“Nobody’s quite as good as Katie Dippold, my co-screenwriter. She’s on set every day, handing me joke son a Post-It note. And Matt Walsh is one of those amazing improvisers who can show up for a role with no jokes in it and turn it into a funny, memorable part.”

Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures.