Deadline reports that Reitman has decided to work on the film as a producer, prompting a hunt for a new director. The site reports that Reitman had been attached as directing since the beginning, but that the recent tragic death of the great Harold Ramis has prompted him to reconsider.
The director revealed the history of the troubled third movie, including the hunt for Bill Murray, and explained why he decided to take a step back. For those who have been tracking the production over the years, this is a fascinating and touching insight.
“There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters,” Reitman told the site. “I’ve been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who’s writing, what they’re writing, who’s in it, who we will use, and who’s directing. We’d decided not to comment up till now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters.”
“The first was done by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, and me, Harold and Dan helped them on it. It was a really good script, but then it became clear that Bill really didn’t want to do another Ghostbusters and that it was literally impossible to find him to speak to for the year or two we tried to get it going. When Bill finally…well, he never actually said no, but he never said yes, so there was no way to make that film. We decided to start over again, and I started working with Etan Cohen, with Dan lending a helping hand. Harold got sick about three years ago, and we kept hoping he would get better. I kept pushing forward on the Etan Cohen and we now have a draft that is very good, that the studio is very excited about.
“It’s a version of Ghostbusters that has the originals in a very minor role. When I came back from Harold’s funeral, it was really moving and it made me think about a lot of things. I’d just finished directing Draft Day, which I’m really happy with and proud of. Working on a film that is smaller and more dramatic was so much fun and satisfying. I just finally met with Amy and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I’d been thinking about it for weeks, that I’d rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help but let’s find a really good director and make it with him. So that’s what we’ve agreed will happen. I didn’t want all kinds of speculation about what happened with me, that is the real story.”
“It was such an amazing time in my life 30 years ago, and I felt that way on the second film. With Harold no longer with us I couldn’t see it. [Ghostbusters] really seems to have resonated, and I think a lot of adults who saw it when they were younger have shown it to their kids and they seem to respond much the same way. Sony sees this as a huge worldwide opportunity, and it is eager to make the film.”
“I’m not going to say how many Ghostbusters there will be in the new cast, but we are determined to retain the spirit of the original film, and I am pleased that all of this seems to have happened organically,” he said. “I’m hoping we can get started by the fall, set in New York, but given the logistics and the stuff that happens, the beginning of 2015 seems more likely.”
Sony’s Amy Pascal told Deadline that the studio backed Reitman’s decision and that they were actively pursuing a new director. “We totally understood. He was thinking he might feel that way when Harold died, and then came back to us and confirmed it, that while he was excited to return and make the movie as producer, but did not feel he wanted to direct the movie. We are delighted to work with Ivan on this movie in that capacity. We love him, and he’s going to continue to play an important role. We’re very anxious to get the movie started.”