GHOUL POWER

MELISSA MCCARTHY AND COM­EDY‘S LEAD­ING LADIES RE­BOOT GHOST­BUSTERS

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - VICKY ROACH

T he stars of Paul Feig’s “con­tro­ver­sial” $200 mil­lion-plus Ghost

busters’ re­boot are set to wipe the floor with on­line trolls who con­tinue to claim chicks can’t han­dle a pro­ton wand.

“I can’t be­lieve the tweets I have got­ten in the last year,’’ says the di­rec­tor on the set of the su­per­nat­u­ral ac­tion com­edy (a sound stage on the out­skirts of Bos­ton) last Au­gust.

“The peo­ple who are afraid of it … as­sume it’s go­ing to be like a ro­man­tic com­edy where the women cry and break their nails. It’s so in­sult­ing.”

Af­ter prov­ing women can be just as crude as men with his 2011 com­edy Brides­maids, Feig takes a sim­i­larly vis­ceral ap­proach to spec­tre-wran­gling in Ghost­busters, star­ring Kris­ten Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Satur­day Night

Live alumni Kate McKin­non and Les­lie Jones.

The big­gest point of dif­fer­ence be­tween Feig’s film and the orig­i­nal 1984 clas­sic, star­ring Dan Aykroyd and Bill Mur­ray, is not the gen­der of his pro­tag­o­nists, but a ramp­ing up of the ac­tion quota.

“It’s only so ex­cit­ing to watch peo­ple aim a pro­ton gun and shake as the beam comes out,” Feig says. “(This time) they’re ac­tu­ally in hand-to­hand com­bat with the ghosts.”

As be­comes clear dur­ing a break in film­ing, the ac­tors, them­selves, are well and truly over the sub­ject of gen­der.

“Do you mean do we carry purses and put on panty­hose dur­ing the movie?” says Jones. “Be­cause I hate the whole ‘woman’ thing. Why are we pay­ing so much at­ten­tion to it?”

As a child, McCarthy says she watched Ghost­busters all the time.

“I guess I didn’t think about the fact that just those four hap­pened to be men. I fully thought I could be one.”

One gets the im­pres­sion that the four come­di­ennes and Feig, who turns up to work each day in a three-piece be­spoke suit, swing­ing a natty cane, are more than a match for blog­gers such as Cine­mas­sacre’s James Rolfe, who has an­nounced a boy­cott of the film in an on­line video.

But even be­fore fans re­sponded neg­a­tively to early footage (the first trailer has be­come the most dis­liked in YouTube his­tory) the film’s fi­nanciers were ner­vous.

Hav­ing spent big dol­lars on the Ghost­busters’ re­make, Sony Pic­tures is un­der­stand­ably keen to pro­tect its in­vest­ment.

To suc­ceed, the re­boot must per­form in all four quad­rants of the film-go­ing au­di­ence: male and fe­male, over and un­der 25.

Their con­cern, pre­sum­ably, is the boys won’t go see the film if they per­ceive it to be a chick flick.

That is why pro­ducer Amy Pas­cal leaps out of her seat, dur­ing on-set in­ter­views, to set the record straight.

“It’s not cor­rect to talk about this as a fe­male-driven movie any more than you would call Grav­ity a chick flick,” she tells the as­sem­bled group of jour­nal­ists.

“Se­ri­ously, these girls are bad ass. It’s not like a girl movie. I want you to get that right out of your head.”

Feig and his crack team of co­me­di­ans are bank­ing on their tried and tested comic cre­den­tials to over­come any such gen­der prej­u­dice.

That is why Chris Hemsworth, con­sol­i­dat­ing his well-re­ceived com­edy cameo in Va­ca­tion by play­ing the Ghost­busters’ dimwit­ted PA, is ly­ing flat on his back on the con­crete floor of a cav­ernous sound­stage while his boiler-suited em­ploy­ers wres­tle vi­o­lently with a malev­o­lent ap­pari­tion.

“Yep, we’re bust­ing a ghost today,” says Wiig. “Most days we are bust­ing ghosts.”

While the phan­tom in ques­tion doesn’t ac­tu­ally man­i­fest on set, we’re as­sured it will ma­te­ri­alise to spec­tac­u­lar ef­fect dur­ing post­pro­duc­tion.

“Life­like” ghosts are one of the rea­sons the bud­get is more than five times that of the orig­i­nal film.

“I liked the car­toony ghosts in the orig­i­nal one but I wanted ev­ery­thing about this movie to be as real as a movie based on fake stuff can be,’’ Feig say.

To make the su­per­nat­u­ral world seem tan­gi­ble, Feig cer­tainly put his ac­tors through their paces.

“As a co­me­dian, you pride your­self on be­ing funny and goofy,” says McKin­non, who plays the team’s “crazy” in­ven­tor.

“But se­cretly you fan­ta­sise about be­ing an ac­tion hero.

“So to get to ac­tu­ally do it, not as a par­ody but ac­tu­ally to do it, to be an ac­tual bad ass … now I won’t want to go back to my life as a dork.” Ghost­busters opens today

Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKin­non, Kris­ten Wiig and Les­lie Jones have a real blast in Ghost­busters.

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