Director Paul Feig tweeted out the above image to mark the commencement of filming for his Ghostbusters reboot in Boston this week. With shooting going down right in its backyard, the Boston Herald has revealed some new details about the film’s plot, and they might sound familiar to Ghostheads who have followed the long road to a new GB film.
The newspaper’s “script spies” report that “[Kristen] Wiig and [Melissa] 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.”
What’s interesting here (besides the callback to Columbia University, where the original three busters worked before going into business for themselves), is that this plot seems really close to what Dan Akyroyd was talking about for a potential Ghostbusters 3 just a few years ago.
As Indiewire points out, Akyroyd said in a 2013 interview with Larry King that his story was “based on new research that’s being done in particle physics by the young men and women at Columbia University… Basically, there’s research being done that I can say that the world or the dimension that we live in, our four planes of existence, length, height, width and time, become threatened by some of the research that’s being done.”
Admittedly, the Herald report says nothing of breaks in the fifth dimension, and script changes are continuous in these sorts of Hollywood blockbusters. Still, the two stories do share similar aspects, and it’s easy to envision Akyroyd’s story being adapted into Feig’s as sort of a “spiritual sequel.”
The Herald also confirms the return of Slimer to the franchise, while Akyroyd says there will be other references to the original films. He told Comic Book Resources the new movie “[refers] to the first two in a really neat, classy way.” He added, “The new one’s going to be big! 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… This is all going to introduce [the franchise] to a whole new generation of girls that are going to want to be Ghostbusters. We always needed them.”
One woman who won’t be part of the franchise, however, is Emma Stone. Rumored early for a role, it turns out Stone was offered a part in the film, but turned it down. “The script was really funny,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “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.” Stone’s last major franchise was the Amazing Spider-Man series, the failure of which led to Sony sharing Spidey with Marvel. One could understand how she might desire some space from big-budget blockbusters after that fiasco.