Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2012 by Germain Lussier
When Ghostbusters was released, Jason Reitman was seven years old. Every kid in the neighborhood wanted to be a Ghostbuster for Halloween, but he was the only one with a real Proton Pack. This, of course, is because his father, Ivan Reitman, directed the legendary 1984 film. That kinship made Thursday’s Live Read, presented by Film Independent at LACMA, that much more special.
Both Reitmans were in attendance as a cast including Seth Rogen, Jack Black and Rainn Wilson read through Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd’s shooting draft, dated October 7, 1983. The script is the movie we all know and love…with some pretty interesting changes. Unfortunately, Reitman and Film Independent don’t allow photos or recording inside these live events so we can’t present you with the entire thing. What we can present you with are five things we learned about the original script from Ghostbusters. Check them out below.
Here are five things we learned about Ghostbusters.
1. Bill Murray improvised everything.
This was a discovery Jason Reitman made when his father let him see the shooting draft. Almost all of the classic Venkman lines you know and love from the movie aren’t in the final script. “While almost all of the dialogue in original screenplay is echoed on screen, the Venkman character is completely improvised. It’s as if Bill Murray was given a mumblecore-style essay about each scene and then permitted to say whatever he wanted as long as he got the point across,” Reitman told Entertainment Weekly. For example “I feel so funky” after being slimed is his and “The flowers are still standing” scene was off the cuff. The live read inserted the classic improved lines along with the script.
2. Ecto-1 was originally written as a cheap gold ambulance painted black.
Who can forget Ray coming back to headquarters with what would eventually become the Ecto-1? That white ambulance has since become a piece of cinema iconography. However, in the script, it wasn’t white, but a gold ambulance later painted flat black, the latter color revealed when they arrive at the hotel for their first bust. It was also cheaper. $1,400 in the script as opposed to $4,800. But don’t worry, the unforgettable ghostbuster symbol is described exactly as we know it, even on the black car as the black car. “Emblazoned on the door is the Ghostbusters’ new logo. It’s the international symbol of prohibition, a red circle with a diagonal red stroke across a ghost.”
3. Their outfits were blue with visors.
The familiar Ghostbuster outfit, tan overalls with boots and knee pads, is radically different from what Aykroyd and Reitman first envisioned. In the script they’re described as wearing “matching blue futuristic jumpsuits” along with “brushed-metal, flip-down ecto-visors worn on the head like a welder’s mask.” You can imagine the change was made because they wanted to blend in more. Blue does not blend. And visors would obscure the actors’ faces.
4. Slimer was yellow.
The most recognizable Ghostbuster ghost is, of course, Slimer. Green, gross and always hungry. In the original script, though, he wasn’t green at all. He was yellow. Still, the original description was spot on – minus the color change – “translucent, foul, yellow…It looks like a misshapen potato with a pushed-in face and spindly arms.”
5. Roberto Clemente could have terrorized New York.
Well, kind of. In the finished film, when Peter’s explaining what Gozer means by “choose,” he gives an example before Ray chooses the Stay Puft Marshmellow man. In the film, it’s J. Edgar Hoover. In the script, it’s Roberto Clemente. As in “if we think of Roberto Clemente, Roberto Clemente will appear and destroy us, okay?”
And here’s a bonus for making it this far.
6. New Jersey heard Gozer
When Gozer speaks to the Ghostbusters and tells them to “choose” their destructor, we know she’s loud, but we only hear what they hear. However, in the script, it was much more menacing and far reaching: “And then Gozer speaks to them in a voice that can be heard throughout Metropolitan New York and parts of New Jersey,” it said.
Overall, it was a fantastic evening with a great cast. Reitman does these readings every month or so and, if you want tickets, keep an eye on the LACMA website. They’ll announce the date and ticket sale date. Members get first crack too. Thanks to Film Independent.