Ivan Reitman Officially Steps Down from Directing ‘Ghostbusters 3’

By March 19, 2014
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We’ve been hearing news about a possible third installment of Ghostbusters for literal years now, but little (if any) of the chatter and buzz surrounding the project has ever come to fruition. It’s long seemed as if the film would be relegated to “never gonna happen, but some people sure do want it to!” status, but the latest news out of Sony sounds actually firm, a real rarity when it comes to this project.

Deadline is currently reporting two major bits of information regarding Ghostbusters 3 – that it might start filming as early as 2015 (that’s a maybe), and that director Ivan Reitman has stepped down from directing the film (that’s a definite). Reitman has, however, not left the production in full – he is expected to step in to help Sony head Amy Pascal find a new director and produce the project alongside the studio.

As the outlet reminds us, “in all the years Sony has tried to get this film up and running, Reitman has been the most stable part of the equation, long locked to direct his third installment,” which makes this news especially shocking. The director took to the outlet to explain why he made such a decision, one partially prompted by the death of Harold Ramis, who both starred in and wrote the two previous films. He shared:

There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters…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 [Murray] 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.

Ghostbusters trio

He continued:

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.

Reitman confirms that despite many attempts to woo him back into the fold, Bill Murray will not be returning. That ultimately impacted the film’s scripting process, as the first draft, penned by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, relied heavily on Murray’s involvement. When it became clear that Murray would not come back for the third film, a new script by Etan Cohen was crafted. That draft is the one currently in play, and Reitman shares that “it’s a version of Ghostbusters that has the originals in a very minor role.”

As of now, Reitman and Sony have reportedly started working on a short list of possible directors and, once he or she is hired on, they will begin looking for a new cast. As Reitman tells it, “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…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.”

How would you like to see direct the new Ghostbusters? Any casting ideas?

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.