EXCLUSIVE: Harold Ramis Talks Ghostbusters 3 and Meatballs Remake
The legendary director tells us more about what we can expect from these two highly anticipated Ivan Reitman projects
This summer, movie blogs were buzzing with excitement when it was announced that Columbia Pictures was moving ahead on its long anticipated Ghostbusters 3 sequel. After Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg signed onto write the screenplay, all four Ghostbusters announced that they would be returning as well. While promoting the release of his upcoming DVD Year One, which hits stores on October 6th, director Harold Ramis, perhaps best known as Dr. Egon Spengler, was kind enough to talk with us about once again slipping into that Ghostbusters uniform. Here is what he had to say:
This summer it was announced that Ghostbusters 3 was definitely a go, and the Internet was buzzing with excitement. You directed a number of The Office episodes, which Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg wrote. Did that have anything to do with getting the ball rolling on this long gestating sequel?
Harold Ramis: Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg also co-wrote Year One, and the studio was really impressed with their work. They also worked on another film that the studio just bought. They are good at what they do. Gene has been a protégé of mine since college, and Lee was a waiter I met at Martha's Vineyard. They both started as interns and production assistants at Sony. I virtually read everything they had written up until they got their jobs on The Office. It has been a nice relationship. The studio didn't only think they were good, but they thought there was a convenient link to Ghostbusters 3 through me.
Why do you feel, at this date and time, it's so important to revisit Ghostbusters? Is it purely financial, or do you truly feel you can push these characters in a new and exciting direction that we haven't seen before?
Harold Ramis: It's Dan Aykroyd. He has been keeping this idea alive. This is his original concept, and he's wanted to do this for a while. He even wrote a spec script years ago. The twenty-fifth anniversary came, we had the new Blu-ray, and the videogame release, and people still seem so very excited about this movie. The response from the game was tremendous. Everywhere I went, people were asking about it. I thought, why not? Why can't there be a Ghostbusters 3? I have to remind people that they didn't like Ghostbusters 2 very much. But they still seem to want a third one. Finally, Murray said yes. I thought, "Well, we have a good script. Why not?" Ivan Reitman said yes. It came be done. It can happen.
Can you share anything about Dr. Egon's life in 2012? Is he having a hard time dealing with the effects of the Mayan Calendar? Has he found love? Does he have a kid?
Harold Ramis: I had two initial first instincts. One was that Egon had become a shaved head Buddhist monk. That is not going to happen. The thing that I pitched for my character is that he's been living in Geneva, and he works for the Institute of Imaginary Science. The work we are doing doesn't require any conceptual, intellectual, special, or mathematical models for what we are doing. Even we don't know what we are doing. It's that theoretical.
The film is listed as coming out in 2012. Is it going to deal with the Mayan calendar and the end of the world?
Harold Ramis: That is pure speculation. We are not going to do that.
Who would you like to see as the new Ghostbusters? Are you eyeing any potential new talent?
Harold Ramis: Every young actor will be mentioned. No one is signed or has been approached.
The end of the first one is so legendary, how hard is it to top that, or are you even concerned about that?
Harold Ramis: I think we are just going to try and make a good movie. The intention of a sequel is not to give an audience more of what they didn't get enough of the first time. It's to give the audience something that is new. We want them to feel that they are having a new experience of some kind. That becomes a tightrope. Yeah, we definitely are introducing new Ghostbusters. That much is for sure. And there will be inter-dimensional creatures visiting New York. And we will deal with it. That's all I am allowed to say at this point.
What about a new Meatballs? I see that you are attached to make a remake?
Harold Ramis: I heard that. I asked Ivan Reitman. I think there is some development on that front. I had so little to do with the first one, I am a little amazed that they mentioned it in my IMDB bio. I was a script doctor on the first one. I have nothing at all to do with this new one. Heck, maybe I can get some points on it. (Laughs)