CONTINUES THE LEGACY
By Don Kaye
After 30 years, Ghostbusters: Afterlife continues a family legacy, not only for the characters in the latest sequel, but also for director Jason Reitman honoring his father’s work.
Reitman’s father, producer/director Ivan Reitman, was behind the camera for the original film, which he and his iconic cast turned into a comedy classic for the ages.
Jason Reitman was not even seven years old when Ghostbusters came out in June 1984, yet his memories of being on the set are still vivid to him.
“It was extraordinary,” he recalls. “It became my introduction to what it meant to make a movie. It was my introduction to really knowing my father as a filmmaker.”
Reitman’s father also directed the first sequel, 1989’s Ghostbusters II, but while it scored at the box office, the film was scorned by critics and was generally considered a lackluster follow-up.
Although Ivan Reitman continued trying to develop a third film for years, the death of co-writer and actor Harold Ramis in 2014 and an all-female remake in 2016 bogged those plans down.
Jason Reitman finally got involved once he started working on the idea of a family inheritance passed down by Egon Spengler, the late Ramis’ character, for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Financial difficulties force Egon’s daughter (Carrie Coon) and grandchildren (McKenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) to move into the old, dilapidated family farmhouse in Oklahoma.
Saying he was “heartbroken by the death of Harold Ramis” Reitman decided to make the Spenglers the family at the center of Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
The legacy of the original movie was also honored when Reitman (and his dad, who is the film’s producer) got many surviving Ghostbusters actors to reprise their original roles.
Bill Murray (Peter), Dan Aykroyd (Ray), Ernie Hudson (Winston), Sigourney Weaver (Dana), and Annie Potts (Janine) all appear in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
“We wanted to make a movie that felt as though the storytellers were handing everything you loved about Ghostbusters back to the audience sitting in their chairs,” says Reitman.
And that, in the end, is what making a new Ghostbusters movie – and adding his personal take on his own family’s legacy – is all about for Jason Reitman.