Who you gonna call? According to Tuesday’s big news, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, the four women who very likely going to star in the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters.
Bridesmaids director Paul Feig is set to direct the hotly anticipated spin-off, meaning that the film will be far wittier than the lazy lede just written in this piece. Feig also seems to have confirmed the casting, tweeting a photo collage of Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, and Jones Tuesday.
While rumors of an all-female Ghostbusters movie have been swirling for years now, Feig didn’t confirm that he’d be directing the project and co-writing the script, with Katie Dippold, until this October—sending into overdrive lists of dream casts that had already peaked when Bill Murray himself gave his picks just the month before. (Murray’s choices: McCarthy, Wiig, Linda Cardellini and Emma Stone. Looks like he wasn’t far off.)
Leaked emails from the Sony hack hinted at this casting. As The Daily Beast reported, Sony chief Amy Pascal sent Ivan Reitman, director/producer of the original Ghostbusters franchise, her own bit of dream casting, saying that she was “hearing” that Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, and Lizzy Kaplan were interested in starring in it.
In another email, Feig starts spitballing ideas for the movie, which he assumed would address Pascal’s insistence that the reboot be “totally original with completely different characters” but still connected to the original franchise in a “clever way.”
(SPOILERS are below, assuming any of these ideas make it into a final script.)
Feig said that this reboot would unequivocally not be a sequel, and that the humans wouldn’t be afraid of ghosts at the start of the film because they haven’t encountered them yet. He also said the villain would be a convicted murderer—hopefully played by Peter Dinklage—who turns into a ghost during a botched execution. (Morbid! Love it!) This apparently will give Dinklage’s character the power to raise an army of ghost villains, which could be famous people throughout history.
Feig’s idea is also that the Ghostbusters work for the government, but in a tortured relationship kind of way: their organization keeps being disavowed because it would be ludicrous for the government to endorse ghostbusters. He wants Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong to play their bureaucratic nemesis, who, according to Vulture, is “always saying terrible things about them in press conferences and then apologizing to them behind the scenes.”
There are also reports stemming from the leaked Sony emails that Bill Murray may be sued in order to force him to appear in the film.
In any case, this casting is amazing news for about 400 different reasons.
It’s astute to hire no-brainers Wiig and McCarthy (who were on everybody’s shortlists and who we already know have great comedic chemistry with themselves and with Bridesmaid’s Feig) alongside surprise entries McKinnon and Jones. McKinnon has for a few years now been bowed down to as “the next Kristen Wiig”—SNL’s best bet a breakout, crossover star—so what better platform to give her than a Paul Feig female buddy comedy. Worked for Wiig, didn’t it?
And Jones, in her short time on SNL, has already made a bigger impression—not only on viewers but on the industry, thanks to her turn in Chris Rock’s Top Five—than most cast members make in the entire tenure on the show. She’s perhaps the biggest wildcard casting in this announcement, and that’s what makes the announcement more fun.
Earlier reports were that Stone and 22 Jump Street’s Jillian Bell were up for those final two roles, and Jennifer Lawrence and Rebel Wilson had apparently had meetings about them, too. And Variety says Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, and Jones are only in early negotiations, and not confirmed.
But Feig pushing out that tweet without being pretty certain in his cast would be pretty cheeky. The social media equivalent of something’ strange in your neighborhood.