Ghostbusters III Loses Director Ivan Reitman

GhostbustersGhostbusters and Ghostbusters II director, Ivan Reitman, will not be directing the highly anticipated Ghostbusters III. The main factors cited include script troubles, Bill Murray’s disinterest in reprising his role as Dr Peter Venkman, and the recent death of Harold Ramis, who was a keystone to the franchise.

The good news for fans though is that Ghostbusters III isn’t off. In fact, it’s scheduled to begin production in early 2015, but it was also scheduled to start back in 2011 and 2013 as well, so confidence in this new announcement is shaky at best. The new film is set to focus on a new, young team of Ghostbusters who take over the business, and so a younger director might be exactly what this installment needs. Rumors have swirled around who the new cast would consist of, including: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade, but there are no confirmations thus far.

GhostbustersThe big casting question however remains: who from the original cast will appear? Ramis is gone and Murray is a constant holdout. Ernie Hudson, who played Winston, doesn’t think there should be another film due to Ramis’ passing, saying, “There can’t be another Ghostbusters without Harold.” That leaves Dan Akroyd, who played Ray, standing alone. Rick Moranis has been in talks to make a cameo, but Sigourney Weaver has been quiet about reprising the role of Dana Barrett for the last few years, citing Murray’s reluctance as being “not a good sign.”

Reitman may be out as director, but he hasn’t been lost from Ghostbusters III altogether, as he will remain a producer on the flick. While he is a prolific director, he is an even more well-known producer having brought over 60 movies to completion, including Space Jam, Old SchoolUp in the Air, and the soon to be released Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns who is trying to secure the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. As Ghostbusters III is concerned, his next task is to help co-producer, Amy Pascal, find a new director for the script that is now in place.

That script has gone through a series of writers. The first crack was taken by writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who co-wrote the 2009 Jack Black/Michael Cera vehicle, Year One, along with Ramis. They were helped along by Reitman, Ramis and Akroyd, but when it became clear Murray was less than enthused, a new script was written by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) and Reitman, with Akroyd again helping out. A draft of that script is still the one that is planned to be used, as it only features the original Ghostbusters “in a very minor role.”

Harold Ramis’ death haunts Ghostbusters III, and appropriately so, as he was so integral to its success, both as an actor and writer, but it also haunts Reitman personally. Ramis was “extraordinarily influential in my career,” Reitman told Deadline Hollywood, adding, “With Harold no longer with us, I couldn’t see it (Ghostbusters III).” The Ghostbusters franchise loses Reitman as Director, and while that slows down the sequel’s already stagnant momentum, there is still hope for die-hard fans to see a new installment. A different director at the helm could help steer the franchise in a new direction too, as so many angles on a story involving the original cast have been stifled one way or another.

Opinion By Matt Stinson
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San Jose Mercury

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