Spoiler alert: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and their co-stars (SNL’s Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones) will bust ghosts in the new Ghostbusters movie, which just started filming in Boston yesterday. Do you really need to know anything more than that?
Maybe you do.
Okay. For starters, it is not a remake nor is it some kind of sequel which will conveniently ignore Ghostbusters 2 the way Jurassic World ignores The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. This is a straight-up franchise reboot with brand new characters. So, if you were worried about seeing one of the ladies doing a Bill Murray impressions as a character named Petra Venkman (instead of Peter Venkman) then, well, stop because that’s not going to happen. As far as the plot is concerned, this will not be something which is really just a gender-switched recreation of the original. Well, it kind of is. The racial dynamic of the four new Ghostbusters is exactly the same (3 Caucasians, 1 African-American), and instead of Annie Potts as the secretary they’ll have Chris Hemsowrth around to excitedly declare, “We got one!” But it’s not like they’re going to fight the Stay Puff Marshmallow Woman instead of Man.
That’s not to say there won’t be some sly references to the original Ghostbusters. Dan Aykroyd just told SpinOff Online that this new one “refers to the first two in a really neat, classy way.” Before you go crazy, remember that director/co-writer Paul Feig has previously made it perfectly clear that his Ghostbusters will be a new thing disconnected from what came before. Either way, Aykroyd likes the script, “The interplay, and with each of them, their individual voices are so well defined. They’re just such different characters, and there’s a friction. There’s a dynamic there. I’m not going to spoil it for people…it’s funny. It’s intelligent. It hits the right notes, and I’m really excited about it.”
Emma Stone also liked the script, but, as she told The Wall Street Journal, she turned down the chance to take part in the project because it was too soon to go straight into such a big commitment straight out of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, “The script was really funny…It just didn’t feel like the right time for me. A franchise is a big commitment—it’s a whole thing. I think maybe I need a minute before I dive back into that water.” This explains why the new cast is absent one Emma Stone even though literal years of rumors had linked her to the project, both before and after Paul Feig took over and hired The Heat’s Katie Dippold to co-wrote the script with him.
Do you still want to know the basic plot? No. Well, then we’re good. You can stop reading now.
Still want to know the basic plot? Here it is, courtesy of The Boston Herald:
Wiig and McCarthy play a pair of unheralded authors who write a book positing that ghosts are real. Flash forward a few years and Wiig lands a prestigious teaching position at Columbia U. (Like the original, the story takes place in New York City, even though it’s being shot in Boston.) Which is pretty sweet, until her book resurfaces and she is laughed out of academia.
Wiig reunites with McCarthy and the other two proton pack-packing phantom wranglers, and she gets some sweet revenge when ghosts invade Manhattan and she and her team have to save the world.
So, when Aykroyd said this new one refers to the first two in classy ways it could be as simple as having Wiig’s character fired from Columbia University at the beginning just like Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis were in the first Ghostbusters. Otherwise, that description is very close to the rumored plot which leaked earlier this year, although at that point it was unclear which specific characters the actresses had been cast to play. The plot leak actually included more information, such as breakdowns of all four new Ghostbusters, not just the main two, and some discussion of the villain as well as an ally the new team will have in the local government (as opposed to William Atherton’s antagonistic character from the original). I wrote all about it elsewhere on the site (here’s the link). It sounds like the reconciliation between Wiig and McCarthy’s characters will be a big part of the film, which is about what you’d expect from mostly the same exact people who made Bridesmaids, i.e., Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s characters first falling out and then back into their friendship.
It could all add up to a pretty fun movie.