Bill Murray made a surprise appearance during a secret screening of City of Ember at Fantastic Fest. Now I’m kicking myself for having to leave early to Los Angeles to cover the big Disney even. Oh well. Murray was asked about Ghostbusters 3. For those who have been in a cave for the last month, The Office’s Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg are writing a script which will introduce a new generation of Ghostbusters. We’ve heard Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis talk about the possible sequel, but to my knowlege, this is the first time Bill Murray has commented publicly. Here is what Murray had to say:

“I think the wounds from Ghostbusters 2 have healed, Murray joked, the crowd errupting in laughter. “And supposedly they have hired two guys from The Office to write a script. So that could work. I think that’s a good idea to get a fresh look at… I always liked the characters. The characters are fun. And we did have a lot of fun making the movie. The first one was really a lot of fun to make. And I think the first 45 minutes of Ghostbusters is about as fun as a movie gets.”

Murray then offered advice to the new writers, a bit of a warning:

“We didn’t have a lot of special effects in it. There were just a couple. It was just the funny characters in that world, and I like that movie because of it. The first movie had like 60 plate shots. The second movie had like hundreds. Those guys got their hands on the script early, and it was GONE. It went away. It was hard to wrangle because it was tied all around the effects without the story or the characters coming first. So, they are hard movies to write, and Dan really caught it with that first one.”

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UPDATE: The trades are reporting that Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (co-exec producers/writers on NBC’s The Office) have officially been hired by Columbia Pictures/Sony to pen the script for Ghostbusters 3. The script will reportedly bring together the original cast including Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson, Slimer?, though none of the actors have officially signed to reprise their roles. The Hollywood Reporter says that Ghostbusters I and II director Ivan Reitman is “aware and involved” in the project’s development. The “next-gen” storyline has also been confirmed, though no specifics were offered. Read below for further info on this aspect.

The general impression based on years of tentative Ghostbusters 3 rumors is that of a feisty tug-o-war between the original players. Yesterday, Dan Aykroyd parlayed that “two sharp young writers” were working on the script, and expressed hope that Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow would be involved. Today, Pajiba has possibly identified the writers as Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg of The Office (“Job Fair”, “Goodbye Toby”) and this goes along with what Slashfilm has been hearing from a few sources.

Interestingly enough, the site claims that their original script outline was done under-the-radar of star Harold Ramis, yet beloved by Columbia Pictures, even though Stupnitsky and Eisenberg scribed Ramis and Judd Apatow’s 2009 Biblical comedy Year One. So, now the three of them are rumored to be working on a new treatment that’s not sitting well with the studio. Slashfilm cannot confirm this, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Moreover, it’s said that the original script outline was a “next generation” sequel. Rumors were shot down back in July involving Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and Romany Malco. Perhaps we should think younger?

One thing is for sure: With next year’s video game already earning lots of ink, Ghostbusters 3 is being dusted off and proposed as a torch of sorts. When and if confirmed, I think Stupnitsky and Eisenberg’s involvement will be seen is a plus. These are guys who probably love the original film(s) but also appropriately update the material and tone. And let’s hope Rick Moranis’s Louis Tully returns.

Discuss: Do you think these writers are a good fit? Would you like to see the next-gen sequel? And if it’s not Rogen and Rudd, who should join the famed ranks?