Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 by Germain Lussier
Dan Aykroyd is as sick and tired as you are when it comes to Ghostbusters 3. For years he’s been not only answering questions about the proposed film, but actually developing it for free in hopes one day it would get made. That’s all he wants, to get a movie made, and he’s had to constantly change his concept with new writers coming aboard and his co-star, Bill Murray, refusing to play ball.
Then, several months ago, it seemed like the film was ready to go. Things quickly cooled off and that seemed to be the final straw. Aykroyd has had it. He’s now publicly given Sony an ultimatum about making the film.
In an interview with Esquire, the co-creator, co-star and de-facto mouthpiece for the successful franchise not only calls for Sony to make the film now, or forever hold their peace, he talks about the scripts Office writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg did, the one by Etan Cohen, Bill Murray’s non-interest and potential ideas for sequels. Why would he talk about sequels to a movie that hasn’t been made yet? Because he all but guarantees a nine-figure hit if Sony makes the movie. The guy is on a marshmallow man fueled rampage and I love it. Read his quotes below.
All the following quotes from a longer, more fluid interview with Esquire. Here are the major beats with the call out coming in the middle.
Aykroyd says the following when it comes to the film’s current status:
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. At this point, I think we’re closer than we ever have been. And because of the ever-shifting sands and nature of the motion-picture business, I will just say that hopefully, at some point, it will be morphing into what is known in the business as a [Aykroyd mimes air quotes] “production number XP39789.” Then I will begin to rent cars, get hotel rooms, and bill for writing. But that point hasn’t come. All my work has been gratis to this point, as Ivan’s has, and I’m hoping that I can get that production number set up in L.A. and help everyone bring the movie to fruition, as the originator and creator of the concept. If it does not happen, the life of Dan Aykroyd and his family and friends will be quite full without Ghostbusters 3.
The journalist then asks if the draft Stupnitsky and Eisenberg will be used:
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.
At this point, I’m reading and thinking, he JUST said “we have a story and a draft that everyone seems to agree” on and then he said “I don’t know what the final, final draft is going to be.” I think what he meant to say was “I don’t know who will have credit on the final, final draft.” Or at least I hope.
Continuing on, he mentions that while Bill Murray did have to sign on at one point, that no longer is the case:
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.”
That final quote is probably where the bogus story from earlier this week came from saying Murray called Aykroyd out of the blue to make the film.
Now here’s to me the highlight of the article, where he says Murray’s departure stopped the film from being out this summer and then urges Sony to make the film as soon as possible, all but guaranteeing a hit:
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 publically, 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… 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 [Vodka].
The writer/actor then re-confirmed that the idea is to pass the torch to the next generation of Ghostbusters, called the script “Pretty solid, pretty neat, and incredible images” and says that the script written by Etan Cohen “with Ivan strongly collaborating with him, and with me doing revisions as needed, and studio input” leads very organically into a sequel.
What would that sequel be? Possibly something called Man-hell-ttan, which would see the Ghostbusters in Hell:
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.
That quote makes it sound like Man-Hell-ttan would be a third film after a more traditional sequel. Or maybe not. At this point, I think everyone involved would be happy simply making one movie. And, as always, Aykroyd says if Murray wants to appear at any point, he’s welcome, even if he’s a ghost.
I originally had him as a ghost in the Stupnitsky/Eisenberg draft. Because he said, “If I do this, I want to be dead, and I want to be a ghost.” So I said, well, we’ll build you in there. And had he said yes two years ago to the ghost concept, I’m telling you, we’d be making the movie this summer, and it would be massive.
We all give Aykroyd crap for continuing to pound the drum for a movie most of us don’t think should be made but, put yourself in his shoes. If you’d been developing something for years, something you thought could potentially make a lot of money, and it wasn’t getting made, would you be frustrated? Of course. I was pretty anti-Ghostbusters 3 until this point but now, I say let’s do it.
What about you?