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Monday, 11 August 2014 18:15

Ghostbusters: An Inside Look 30 Years Later

Written by  Thea Green
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Ghostbusters can be easily labeled as one of the most iconic comedies of all time.

The 1984 classic also has fascinating behind-the-scenes stories involving the script, set and incredible cast including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver, which was featured in a recent article of Vanity Fair

 The movie was in part inspired by the Aykroyd family’s experience with ghosts. His grandfather was a spiritualist, his family had a medium, and his father wrote a history of ghosts, thus, he not only served as writer, but also as the script’s paranormal consultant once Harold Ramis came on board to co-write.  He was hanging out at his family farmhouse reading an article on ghosts “and [he] thought, I’ll devise a system to trap ghosts . . . and marry it to the old ghost [films] of the 1930s,” Aykroyd said. “Virtually every comedy team did a ghost movie—Abbott and Costello, Bob Hope. I was a big fan of [them.]” 

Due to the film’s numerous special effects, director Ivan Reitman came up with the idea of starting their own special effects house. Oscar winning effects artist Richard Edlund of Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark agreed to do the project. “I had to put a whole company together—and lawyers ate up a lot of time,” Edlund said. “[By the time] the contract was made out, we had more like 10 months to rebuild the studio, shoot all the scenes, and composite everything. We had to build elaborate equipment. It was an incredibly ambitious amount of work.”

Ghostbusters, along with the success of Saturday Night Live helped revitalize New York as a rival to the West Coast. “[The film] is a moment of resurgence and affection and love for the city, which had gone through so much,” said James Sanders, author of Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. 

A 1970’s children’s show called Ghost Busters was the only real headache encountered on the set as the film struggled to get clearance on the name. After witnessing a scene where a group of extras chanted “Ghostbusters,” associate producer Joe Medjuck got on phone. “I got on a payphone and called Burbank and said, ‘You guys have got to clear that name,” he mentioned.

Director Ivan Reitman’s greatest challenge was giving his improv actors enough room to work while sticking to an already amazing script. “What I learned . . . is that I’d have to be nimble,” he said. “I’d set up the scene for how it had been written: lighting, blocking—and then [Bill] would have a brilliant idea. My job was to hold onto the brilliant [script] and [yet] work fast enough to take advantage of his brilliance.”

To read the full article click here: Vanity Fair 


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