How The Filmmakers Grounded 'Ghostbusters' (As Much As They Could) In Real Science

Movie science typically likes to play fast and loose with the facts. There's nothing terribly wrong with that, and most movies get away with it, too. In the case of a film like Ghostbusters, how much can a filmmaker actually ground the science in reality? Few people will see this reboot to fact check, but director Paul Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold may surprise some of those sticklers concerned about the depiction of physicists.

Below, Dippold tells us about the research that went into Ghostbusters.

An excellent piece in Wired covers how far the filmmakers went to stay authentic "right up until the point the ghosts show up." Feig and Dippold went to the right sources to get some of those details right. During the writing process, they did their research to make the team of scientists–well, most of them are scientists–believable:

We did so much research. I always like the very beginning of a project, because daydreaming is just fun. I asked to go to New York because I wanted to go do some writing around Columbia. When I was there, I asked if they could set me up to meet a couple of physicists, to kind of get the basics of what we're talking about [Laughs]. It's been a long time since I was in school, and I barely paid attention then. I met with two physicists, both named Bart, so we called them The Barts. I kind of talked to them about basic stuff, like, "Is there a way to make this make sesnse?" They'd go, "Well, no, that's not real." I actually still have my list of questions I brought to them. Some of them were kind of ridiculous.

The labs and offices Dippold and the filmmakers toured inspired some of the film's settings. In fact, Erin Gilbert's (Kristen Wiig) office is filled with MIT nuclear physicist Janet Conrad's very own textbooks and the character's paper on neutrinos is formatted in the correct style of the journal Physical Review Letters.

While writing the film, Dippold and Feig had assistance from MIT:

After that [experience with The Barts], we had this amazing props team. It was really important to Paul to make it all real. Everything is pretty legit science...or maybe not [Laughs]. In my mind it, it is, so we'll see. We also had this James [Maxwell] from MIT. Anytime we wrote anything we'd send it to him. He'd help us improve it or help with the language, to make it more legit. I have no idea what it sounded like to him. I actually have no idea if it sounded like complete nonsense.

There's not a huge amount of scientific jargon or exposition in Ghostbusters, but Dippold always wanted it to sound accurate and, since the film is a comedy, charming:

It's also really hard, too, because you also want it to sound fun. In the original, first and foremost, it was all madeup, but it was also just really charming. Struggling to learn all these things but then going, "Wait, it's still gotta be charming!" [Laughs] It was a difficult thing.

Even with the Ghostbusters' fantastical gear, including the proton pack, Feig wanted it to function in a way that has some basis in reality: