Why Jason Reitman Originally Didn't Want To Direct Ghostbusters: Afterlife

What's scarier than Gozer the Gozerian? Than Vigo the Carpathian? How about helming a "Ghostbusters" film only a few years after the implosion of its first reboot — oh, and your father is also the director of the beloved originals? When it comes to filling seemingly larger than life shoes, director Jason Reitman is about as fearless as the proton-pack wielding heroes themselves. When it was announced he'd be tackling another go at the Ghostbusters franchise by directing "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," he very knowingly shouldered both the impossible weight of fan expectations, as well as his own.

It might be hard to imagine such tentativeness now that we're weeks past the film's release, given both its box-office success and a fan approval of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes – but hindsight is always 20/20. In an interview with The Guardian, Jason revealed that he had plenty of reasons to be hesitant about hefting the mantle of his father Ivan Reitman, who directed the original two movies and a string of other honored comedies. But the most potent rationale Jason had for keeping more than an arm's length from reboot or sequel alike has less to do with the supernatural, and more to do with his own aspirations as a director.

A Tale of Two Reitmans

As the director of cult favorites like "Juno" and the rom-com "Up in the Air," and with four Oscar nominations under his belt, Jason is anything but an untested newcomer. Which is why it wasn't a question of his own capabilities that kept him from wanting to create his own Ghostbusters film, nor was it a desire to keep the source material as it was, untouched and without elaboration.

"My dad had always hinted about me directing a Ghostbusters movie," Jason explained. "But I shied away from it, the way young people shy away from their parents' legacy. I think I had to learn how to stand on my own feet."

It's an understandable instinct that led Jason to go his own way before ever considering tapping into his father's successes. When he finally felt ready for the task, he'd not only learned how to stand on his own two feet as a director, but also made the critical decision to bring his dad on as a producer. After all, Jason occupies a peculiarly unique spot as director of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," not only counting himself as one of the many fanatic fans of the franchise, but as Ivan's son he also feels a large responsibility to the originals. Which is why Ivan's push to get his son to direct a sequel to some of his most adored films is both heartwarming and a sign of the 75-year-old director's innate wisdom.

Ivan Encouraged Evolution of Ghostbusters

Ivan's eagerness and excitement over witnessing his son bring "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" to — well — life, is a timely contrast to the vitriol that can exist between a director's films and fanbases. From the blogs to Twitter's infinite threads, you can find people shouting so-and-so reason why some part of a much-loved film's sequel or reboot is inaccurate, picking out all the disliked pieces of entire franchises with the voice of one indignant they were not consulted on the matter. But that wasn't the basis of Jason or Ivan's relationship with "Ghostbusters," as the older Reitman felt there were no rigid constraints they needed to abide by.

"My father was way more flexible with the idea of Ghostbusters evolving, and I was the archaeologist, wanting to stay true to the last detail. My dad was like: 'You know, it's not scripture!' And I'd be saying: 'This is text! We cannot change a single thing!'"

To Jason, the journey in conceiving a return to the world of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" was every bit as sacred to him as it was to the next fan — if not even more so, given the fact that his own father was both a coveted resource and dear companion during the pilgrimage. And while he was quick to point out that nobody likes getting notes — least of all from there parents — he was more than happy to get as much input as he could from his dad while making the film. It's the wholesomeness and respect in their collaboration, as well as their obvious love for "Ghostbusters," that serves as a reliable blueprint for how to approach creating a sequel for a film so widely cherished and hotly idolized.