‘Ghostbusters’ Trailer and Reactions From Paul Feig, Ivan Reitman, and Katie Dippold

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Since the project was first announced, the Paul Feig-helmed reboot of Ghostbusters has drawn its fair share of criticism from a vocal minority, legions of egg avatars on Twitter proclaiming that their childhoods have been retroactively raped because there’s a new version of the sacrosanct story of four people hunting ghosts across New York City. In conjunction with the release of the first trailer of this new iteration of Ghostbusters, Sony Pictures invited various members of the press and groups of dedicated Ghostbusters fans to view the new trailer and participate in a Q&A with Feig, writer Katie Dippold, and the director of the original as well as producer on the reboot Ivan Reitman.

On that Wednesday morning, the Cary Grant Theater on the Sony Lot slowly filled with journalists and those aforementioned Ghostbusters fans, practically all wearing the brown the jumpsuit and their own various homemade proton packs. In order to take their seats, these aficionados of busting ghosts required the assistance of their friends to remove their proton packs, lining the aisles of the theater with this personalized items of fandom.

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Before the festivities got underway, Reitman came out to introduce Feig to the packed theater, whom Reitman referred to as “one of the best comedy directors in the world.” An obviously anxious Feig took the microphone, dapper as ever in his finely tailored suit. Having primarily worked in R-rated comedies, Feig has never dealt with the unrelenting scrutiny of hardcore fandom, and debuting this trailer to a full theater of die-hard fans would be the first test for everyone involved. Feig relays his own personal connection to Reitman’s original film, claiming it as a major influence on his career, and speaks of his own desire to have this latest installment work as a “passing of the torch” to a younger generation, pointing out Grace, a young girl dressed in her own customized jumpsuit.

Then light finally dim and the trailer plays, opening with the somber notes of a piano playing the notes from Ray Parker, Jr.’s iconic theme. There’s nothing earth-shattering within the trailer itself – after all, it is only a trailer. But it does a good job establishing who each of these new characters are while teasing the film’s sense of humor. The specters that populate Feig’s reboot look wonderful, a ghastly blue that glows with an unearthly aura. In the little of two minutes of teaser, it certainly looks that the future of Ghostbusters is fine hands with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon all working at the top of their game. I know it’s just a teaser but I’ve come away with the strong feeling that McKinnon will be the breakout star of the summer.

Before the lights could go up in theater, the crowd was going wild, hooting and hollering before coalescing around a chant of “One more time!” to which a visibly relieved Feig happily rolled again. The second time around the reaction was a bit more tempered though still quite enthusiastic, as the fans seemingly mulled over the minor details looking for clues to piece together.

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One of the first questions fielded by Feig was about the vocal detractors, many of whom having sent loathsome interactions across social media to the director as well as writer Katie Dippold. “It was just great,” the director said in a deadpan sarcastic tone about the outpouring of negative reactions. Hoping to quickly dash all the worst held fears of the naysayers, the director added, “There’s no cynicism involved with this movie.” Feig’s statement wasn’t meant to be confrontational, but it seemed to imply that his project is the product of love and the cynicism’s source could be traced back to the detractors.

A key issue that arise around any reboot or sequel of an iconic and long-dormant franchise is to what level fan service plays a role. Too often filmmakers focus too heavily on the nostalgic elements, allowing the past to all the heavy lifting instead of crafting a unique and memorable story – I’m looking at you, Jurassic World. “We wanted to make sure that we give those nods and make them our own,” Feig said of including a bit of fan service. “There’s a lot of thing that you’ll be happy you see, but they’ll be coming at you in a slightly different way.”

“What wonderful, you know, is that people love the original quartet and it’s very tough to come up with that sort of foundation,” Reitman said of the newest incarnation. “I often talk about when I saw the original Ghostbusters walking down Madison Avenue on the first day of shooting and there was this tingle in my back. ‘Oh, this thing is special.’ There’s just something about the iconography of it. And I really got, honestly, the same feeling when I saw these four women – there’s no issue of gender. It’s really, ‘Oh my god. There’s something unique about these four together.’”

“Nothing is better in a movie than when your cast has a relationship with each other,” Feig said of the cast that has worked together in various film and on Saturday Night Live. “We didn’t write this with any actors in mind. We just wanted to get these characters right. And then it was about two months of me going ‘Okay, who are the perfect people for this?’ Melissa [McCarthy] was never a shoe-in. Everybody thinks Melissa was shoe-in, she’s not. It was just that I have to get four very distinct personalities for this.”

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“So Kristen [Wiig] is kind of this vulnerable comedian. Melissa’s she’s just a headstrong comedian. And you’ve got Kate [McKinnon], who is just the weirdo nut. And Leslie [Jones] is just this powerhouse that comes at you. The four of them just mix so well it just really fun even being around the roles that they’re playing,” the director said of his leading quartet of Ghostbusters.

Feig said of making the new roster of Ghostbusters all women, “I just wanted the funniest people and the funniest people I happen to know are these women.” He then added, “Ghostbusters are for everybody.”

“I feel like this story, if you placed men in those characters, you could do it,” Dippold said. “It’s pretty genderless.”

Despite the outrage directed at the film, Feig’s passion for the project comes through in the way he talks about it. “This is such an amazing franchise that had two amazing movies, but it could just keep going. There’s so many things you could with it. It just seemed terrible to leave it in a box.”

“I know some people are like, ‘Why is it not a sequel and reboot?’ I didn’t like, personally, the idea of them being handed technology,” Feig says of the creative decision to not continue the franchise through a long overdue sequel.

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“I also think that one of the reasons we did it this way was today’s modern times – scientists don’t believe in the paranormal anymore. So to say that ghosts have existed for the past 30 years, it’s just a different world,” Katie Dippold says of opting for a reboot. “In the original it’s so fun when the ghosts unleash upon the city for the first time, it’s such a fun thing that we didn’t want to skip over.”

“We love the idea,” Feig elaborated, “that in today’s world where there’s all these ghost shows, Ghost Hunters and stuff where you’re like, ‘Are they crazy?’ In our world today, if a ghost appeared, it would be a phenomenal event.”

At the conclusions of the Q&A, Feig, Reitman, and Dippold led the fans outside where they posed for pictures and signed autographs around the old and new Ecto-1. Most fascinating was how the fans gravitated to Feig, who was gracious and enthusiastic about interacting with the fans, even though they’ve only seen all of two minutes of Feig’s forthcoming Ghostbusters and Reitman, the director of the original two films, standing a few feet away.

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You may not find the enthusiasm for Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters on certain corners of the internet, with many detractors willing to grasp at whatever straws they can in order to dismiss the project for reason that aren’t related to sexism. But on the Sony lot the other day, the enthusiasm wasn’t limited to the “Ghostheads,” some of whom traveled great distances to get their first glimpse at the first new Ghostbusters in over 25 years, but the director, writer, and producer of this new version shared in that enthusiasm. It’s easy to see a long-dormant series revived and give into the most cynical of beliefs. Just a few minutes in the presence of Paul Feig and you can see that the cynicism is entirely unwarranted. He’s assembled a team that believes in what they’re doing and deeply care about the future of Ghostbusters.

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