Dan, We need to talk.
Mr. Aykroyd I, like the many others that may inadvertently read this personal letter cleverly disguised as a post on a nerd news site, can say I am a fan of so many things that you have brought to the big and small screen. First and foremost, the Ghostbusters‘ movies (with Spies Like Us a very close second) hold a special, special place and you remain in my top 5 list of original Saturday Night Live cast members that are Caucasian males with dark hair.
Over the past few years we have heard you entertain thoughts of a third movie about busting ghosts, and I will say I was on board. Right with you all up until it got a little bit silly. Right around the time when Bill (Murray) shredded the script (allegedly.) Not to say that his lack of interest in the project is part of why I think it is a bad idea, however his lack of involvement helps my decision.
Recently in an interview with Esquire magazine when asked about Sony’s recent financial problems leading to GB3 being delayed you responded with this:
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“I’m as deeply inside Ghostbusters 3 as anyone involved in the project — that includes the executives at Sony, who have to go to sleep at night and have to decide to do it. Ivan Reitman, the director, who travels from Santa Barbara to L.A., and has for the last three years, working with writers to put it together. [The Office writers] Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, who worked on one of the drafts.”
I am troubled by those words, Dan. Deeply troubled. Knowing that scripts are being passed back and forth without any (alleged) shredding in between is something that worries me. I am scared you think this movie will actually happen.
“I read every draft that’s been turned in. When Gene and Lee, and Etan [Cohen, writer of Men in Black 3, hired last summer], and Ivan — when they’ve turned in drafts, I hand drafts right back. And at this point, we have a script that we like. And I’m hoping for it.”
Now you bring in the guy that wrote MIB3? Dan, are you ok? We are not talking about a ‘My Mother the Alien’ sequel here. You also referred to yourself as a ‘cheerleader’ for the project. I will have you know if it was 1993 I would be right next to you decked out in a Hypercolour t-shirt cheering right next to you. Afterwards we’d toast each other over a nice glass of Crystal Pepsi while Bill Clinton played the saxophone. It’s not 1993 Dan, it’s not even close anymore. It is time to move on.
How does everyone else with a stake in the franchise feel?
“Well, I have one-fifth of the voice, along with the partners and the other owner of the property, the picture company, and Ivan, Billy [Murray], and myself, and Harold [Ramis]. We all have to sign off on it unanimously — uh, I’m not sure Billy does anymore, since he abrogated his rights by sort of, by saying, two years ago he said, “I don’t want to be involved,” and the picture company I think had some clause in there that if he actually passed on the third of fourth offer, he no longer has a view of the franchise. So, that’s for the lawyers to decide. Of course, I’d love to have Billy call me tomorrow and say, “Let’s go to work and start writing.’”
Why did Bill(y) walk away, Dan? Why? His (rumored) comment that ‘No one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts!‘ aside, maybe it is just not that good of an idea to go back to the franchise? We had one really good Ghostbuster movie, another that ain’t that bad and a hell of a cartoon. Is that not enough?
‘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. 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, me, Harold, 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.
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. And 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 time to make the movie…’
Words hurt Dan, words hurt. Not only are you hurting fans like myself, but you are hurting Sony Pictures with a tease of a financial windfall that won’t happen. Besides, haven’t you already lost a main principle in Murray? I’m not saying he is more important than you, the guy who directs, OZ warden, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids guy… I’m not saying that. What I am saying is, are the Ghosbusters not a team? Does bustin not make you feel better when it is done together?
The thought of a movie with you, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson (wait, you never mention Ernie Hudson… why is that, Dan… he was in Airheads for crying out loud and he won’t come back?) passing on the torch to a whole new generation of Ghostbusters, or as you put it, a movie where you are ‘dealing with a problem, as the first movie did, but I think we would have to hand it off to the young,’ is… is that really all you have? What happened to the Ghostbusters In Hell idea you had 20 years ago (when it was still a semi-decent idea)?
‘Man-hell-ttan, and the Ghostbusters in hell, would be so solid, but we gotta get maybe one or two made before that. 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.’
Dan, this needs to stop. It really does. Ghostbusters 3 will never happen.
‘The one that Etan has written now — with Ivan strongly collaborating with him, and with me doing revisions as needed, and studio input — totally leads to a next one. It feeds into it very organically.’
DAN! You’re not George Lucas, we still love you. At the very least focus on making Ghostbusters 3 (the one that won’t happen) before thinking about a forth or fifth movie (that also won’t happen). Look, if you are worried that Ghostbusters will fade, that it needs to be handed off to the next generation, that it needs to live on… Dan, it does. It will. The first movie (and even the second) are in good hands already. Please see the attached photo of my son and I this past Halloween.
If you are concerned about the next generation of Ghostbuster, they are already out there because of the movies you, Ramis, Murray and yes, even Hudson made.
Signed with affection and bewilderment,
Your fellow Canadian and lover of Crystal Head Vodka,
Jeremy R! Hudson.
P.S. Now a new Doctor Detroit movie on the other hand….