As recent news suggests, the neighborhood in which "something strange" would typically occur is about to get crowded with a lot of Ghostbusters. The announcement that the classic 1980’s supernatural exterminator franchise was to reboot with an all-female cast didn’t get to bask in the spotlight too long when it was subsequently announced that an all-male reboot of the same property was also in the works. However, Paul Feig, who will helm the estrogen-exclusive version still finds himself fielding seemingly irrational hate on social media. Now, he’s got something to say to those impassioned claims of "ruined" childhoods.
In an interview with Variety, director, Paul Feig goes on record in response to the emotional rollercoaster of reactions to the announcement of the all-female cast. However, the now-common declaration of indignation over reboot films of "thanks for ruining my childhood," was particularly frustrating to Feig as he jokes that he’ll put the phrase on his tombstone. As Feig elaborates,
It’s so dramatic. Honestly, the only way I could ruin your childhood is if I got into a time machine and went back and made you an orphan.
Feig was also surprised by not just the level of venom spewed his way over the project, but the type of people who wantonly wave wacky critiques. He claims to check the profiles of the "particularly nasty" remarks, expecting a typical tweaked teenager, only to find unassuming biographies that read, "Proud father of two!" It pretty much leaves the director astounded. Yet, this onslaught of hyper-criticism seemed to manifest in waves. As Feig describes the process from its very beginning,
The first wave when you make an announcement like that is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone’s so happy and you’re like, this is great. Then comes the second wave and you’re like, Oh my God. Some of the most vile, misogynistic sh** I’ve ever seen in my life.
Irrational hate comments aside, much of the overall reluctance to embrace the all-female Ghostbusters is probably rooted in the desire of purists to see a long-adored property updated, but not radically recontextualized and transformed. That, I suppose, is the rub, since next to nothing was initially revealed about the film’s plot, which served to inflame the imaginations of the aforementioned Internet critics.
We do know that Feig’s Ghostbusters will feature a solid cast of female comedic talent, headlined by Melissa McCarthy with Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. However, it is currently unknown if their characters will be analogous realizations of the original team from the 1984 film of Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore; something that may mollify those reservations. The number of the primary cast certainly suggests that being the case, though.
Yet, an angle that might suggest otherwise is the fact that Ghostbusters is an established and seriously lucrative brand for boy’s toys. The merchandising prospects, alone, may be the reason why the all-male Ghostbusters film has manifested. Now looking to add Channing Tatum and possibly Chris Pratt, this separate project set for 2017 creates a puzzling dynamic for the overall franchise. Would THEIR version contain the analogous characters as a direct franchise remake? If so, where does that leave Feig’s female film? As part of a connected continuity, as rumors suggest? The director claims to have heard "rumblings" about it, but knows nothing more about the project, himself.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out when the ladies of Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters show that bustin’ makes them feel good at theaters on July 22, 2016.