When asked about his participation in Ghostbusters 2, star Bill Murray states that the film’s final story is not what was originally written.
Ghostbusters 2 is not the story that was originally written, according to co-star, Bill Murray. The sequel has long been a point of contention for those involved and merits a topic of debate for fans of the Ghostbusters franchise. Decades after its release, the film is still brought up when discussing disappointing sequels that stalled the franchise, and drove away the talent involved.
The original Ghostbusters was released in 1984, and was directed by Ivan Reitman with a script by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. It was a critical and commercial success, and it seemed all too likely a sequel would soon follow. However, the principal cast members were reluctant, though they were eventually persuaded to come back for Ghostbusters 2 with Reitman returning to direct and with a new script by Ramis and Aykroyd that everyone appeared to be on board with.
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According to Collider, after receiving the Maltin Modern Master Award at the 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival recently, Murray opened up about important moments and films of his career. Inevitably he was asked about his participation in Ghostbusters 2, where he made it clear that he and the others were not trying to rush out a sequel at the time, but it was something the studio really wanted to do. He claims someone “outfoxed” him by getting him into a room with his fellow co-stars, many of whom he had not seen since the original came out, and the fun of being together seemed to play a role in the decision. Plus, the story he and the others had been pitched for the sequel was something he was excited about.
I was in absolutely no hurry. I probably thought that the only reason anyone would want another one was just to make money. And I was probably the most reluctant. Someone outfoxed me anyway. I don’t know if Ivan set it up, but they got us all back together in a room, and really, we hadn’t been together in a room since the movie came out and it was just really, really fun to be together. We were really funny together. Those are some really wonderful, really funny guys and girls. Sigourney [Weaver] and Annie Potts are some really spectacular women and funny as hell. They got us all together and they pitched a story idea that was really great. I thought, “Holy cow, we could make that work.
However, he then states they were persuaded “under false pretenses,” as the story in the movie did not end up being what they had been told about. Apparently Ramis had a great idea for a sequel that Murray was on board for, but somehow it got changed in pre-production into something very different, which Murray did not figure out till they started shooting. He claims they made the best of it and found a way to manage, but it seems clear he still has some frustration at how it went down. Murray explained:
It ended up not being the story they wrote. They got us in the sequel under false pretenses. Harold had this great idea, but by the time we got to shooting it, I showed up on set and went, “What the hell is this? What is this thing?” But we were already shooting it, so we had to figure out how to make it work. That was a great bunch of people. Just to be together was great.
A lot seems to have been left unsaid by Murray, including what other factors played into the sequel’s failures. While the studio, Columbia Pictures, was clearly pushing for it to be made, it is interesting to note that then Columbia executive chairman, David Puttnam, was not that interested in the expensive sequel, especially since the studio needed the unanimous approval of creators Reitman, Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis to move forward, none of whom were in any hurry. And when they finally decided to make it happen, production was very rushed on Ghostbusters 2, especially when compared to the year or so of production that the original film had.
In the end, learning that the original script for Ghostbusters 2 was different from the final product should not really change anyone’s opinion on the film. Scripts change often during production, and the film seemed to have been plagued with issues from its inception. However, it would be interesting to know what plot elements in particular had gotten Murray excited enough to come back, and if any of those have been incorporated into the other sequels, the Ghostbusters reboot from 2016 or the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife coming out in 2021.
More: Everything We Know About Ghostbusters: Afterlife
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife/Ghostbusters 3 (2021)Release date: Nov 11, 2021
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