It’s on again, it’s off again. Bill Murray is not in the cast, Bill Murray is in the cast, Bill Murray is out of the cast. Such has been the constant flux that is the making of Ghostbusters III, but star/producer Dan Aykroyd says it’s time to make it or move on.
In a recent interview with Esquire, Aykroyd was quite clear that if things don’t happen soon, he will be off the Sony project. He also included some comments about potential Ghostbusters III co-star Bill Murray that some might consider inflammatory. “Well, let me say this: Had Billy chosen to do the Eisenberg/Stupnitsky script of two years ago, it would be out this summer, and it would be a massive hit,” Aykroyd said. “If Billy had said yes, it would have satisfied his performance and what he wanted in the movie, it would have satisfied his performing skill and how he wanted to be depicted in the movie, it would have satisfied the studio, the writers who wrote it, everybody… Ivan (Reitman, director), me, Harold (Ramis), we were all happy with it. Then when he said, ‘Absolutely not, I’m not in this,’ we had to go and really rethink things. He abrogated his say in the project, abrogated his rights to have any say in it by refusing the third offer from the picture company, which his lawyer put before him, and Billy said, ‘No, I can’t respond.’ Now we have to move on, but we’ll always leave a hole for him. He’s always there. He can always come back at any time and be rebuilt into it, as far as I’m concerned. That’s up to his lawyer and the picture company to work out, but creatively, he will always be a part of it.”
Aykroyd made it quite clear that Sony would be missing out on a lucrative film if he and the other main players walk away. “Now, this would add quite a bump to Sony’s bottom line, quite a bump. If they make this movie, in its current shape, they would be looking at a pretty hefty, nine-figure return,” Aykroyd said. “So I’m hoping they get on to move it, but if they don’t, I have multiple trains. I’ve got tracks six, seven, and nine, and that’s four. I’ll be moving on to other things, as will Ivan, by the way. We can’t wait forever. And now’s the time to tell the picture company, and I’d say this quite publicly, it’s time now to sit down and make this movie, or you will lose your main principals, and you won’t be able to make it without us, because we have rights, and now is the time to make the movie…You don’t take advantage of that in the next three or four months, I’ll see you in Australia, where we’ll be selling Crystal Head.” That last bit is, of course, a reference to Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka. Yummo!
Judging by the sound of things, a quality screenplay is done and ready to roll. “I’ve worked on every draft in the last three years, as Ivan has, and now we have a story and a draft that everybody seems to agree would make the third movie,” Aykroyd said. He also addressed a previous version which was written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (writers for “The Office”), “You know, they did great work. There will be arbitration on it. And I hope that the arbitration may yield some kind of credit for them, but I don’t know what the final, final draft is gonna be. That’s to be determined.” Okay, so maybe not exactly completely ready to roll.
And in true cart-before-the-horse Hollywood fashion, plans are already in place for sequels (that’s right…plural) should Ghostbusters III get done, one entitled Man-hell-ttan. “Man-hell-ttan, and the Ghostbusters in hell, would be so solid, but we gotta get maybe one or two made before that,” Aykroyd said. “But, oh wow, I wrote that with Tom Davis, my writing partner, recently deceased, who wrote Coneheads with me and stuff on “Saturday Night Live.” There’s classic Tom Davis lines and funny stuff in there, really it’s probably the most humorous of all the Ghostbusters scripts that have generated in that last little while. But we’ll put the humor into this next one. It’s gotta be funny, or it’s not worth doing. It can be scary, it can be Ghostbusters, it can be the new franchise, the new people, but if it’s not funny… Wait a minute, it started as a comedy. Let’s make sure there’s laughs and no laugh unturned and that we really make that our priority, to make it funny and exciting, but mainly funny.”
Time will tell if they’ll make it at all.
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