MELISSA MCCARTHY AND COMEDY‘S LEADING LADIES REBOOT GHOSTBUSTERS
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.