Ghostbusters reboot aims for laughs

Ghostbusters' director Paul Feig (above) and actress Melissa McCarthy at the Ghostbusters press conference.
Ghostbusters' director Paul Feig (above) and actress Melissa McCarthy at the Ghostbusters press conference.PHOTO: SONY PICTURES RELEASING INTERNATIONAL
Ghostbusters' director Paul Feig and actress Melissa McCarthy (above) at the Ghostbusters press conference.
Ghostbusters' director Paul Feig and actress Melissa McCarthy (above) at the Ghostbusters press conference.PHOTO: SONY PICTURES RELEASING INTERNATIONAL

The all-female remake is facing negative buzz, but director Paul Feig says the audience should judge it on its own merits

Even before the release of the all- female remake of Ghostbusters next month, the film has already had to face a formidable monster - negative buzz.

Director Paul Feig addressed the concerns over the need for a remake at a press conference held at Singapore's ArtScience Museum on Monday and said he understood where the fans were coming from, given that it is such a beloved film.

The original 1984 supernatural horror comedy starred Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd and is reportedly the most successful comedy of the 1980s. There was a sequel spun off in 1989.

The catchy theme song by Ray Parker Jr also had fans chorusing: "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!"

Feig said: "The movie was made by people who love the original movie so there's nothing cynical (about the remake). We only want to entertain the audience, there's no other agenda than to make people laugh."

The 53-year-old director, who also helmed the comedies Bridesmaids (2011) and last year's Spy, was accompanied by one of the four Ghostbusters, Emmy-winner and Oscar-nominee Melissa McCarthy.

We only want to entertain the audience, there's no other agenda than to make people laugh.

DIRECTOR PAUL FEIG on the remake of the beloved 1984 film

They have worked together several times, including on the above two films. The reboot also stars Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the title characters.

McCarthy, 45, pointed out that the criticism was a case of a "tiny majority yelling a lot" and pledged her support for Feig. "There's no one else who should be doing it."

With the original having been released 32 years ago, the actress added that "a massive amount of people are going to see Ghostbusters for the first time with the reboot".

The only validation she needed was from the cast of the original movie, who she said cheered like they were at a sporting event when they saw the movie.

Feig added: "All we ask is watch the movie and judge it based on its own merits. People will talk, but the work will speak for itself."

Familiar elements from the first movie, such as the Ghostbusters vehicle Ecto-1, the ghost-catching proton packs worn by the team and the glowing green ghost Slimer were retained.

But since the film-makers were doing a reboot, Feig explained that they "wanted to show where these things came from".

Hence, the new version includes origin stories of these throwbacks to the original film.

Along with the gender-flipping of the ghostbusting quartet, the movie also takes a left turn with the addition of the hunky Chris Hemsworth as a blond, dim-witted receptionist Kevin.

He turned out to be a comedic revelation.

McCarthy said: "No one mentioned he was bizarrely funny. He just kind of blew us all away."

She added that the Australian actor, better known for his role as demigod Thor in the Marvel superhero movies, "is one of the best improvisers I've ever worked with and I've been lucky enough to work with a lot of really funny guys".

The actress would know, having hosted comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live four times alongside the likes of comedians Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader and Kenan Thompson.

Feig jested of Hemsworth: "It's not fair - you can't look like that and be funny."

The film has yet to be released, but the director is already looking ahead.

Feig, who is a fan of Asian cinema, including the films of Hong Kong funnyman Stephen Chow, said he would consider Asia as a setting for a Ghostbusters 2. "That would be almost a no-brainer," he said.

On Sunday night, the duo were at the Marina Bay Sands event plaza where a new Guinness World Record was set with 263 people dressed up as ghosts, making it the largest gathering of people dressed as ghosts at a single venue.

They were here as part of a series of events hosted by Sony Pictures Singapore to highlight upcoming releases.

Also here were Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, director Ron Howard and acclaimed Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan for the adaptation of the Dan Brown novel Inferno, as well as action thriller director Antoine Fuqua for the American Western, The Magnificent Seven.

•Ghostbusters opens in cinemas here on July 14.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Ghostbusters reboot aims for laughs'. Print Edition | Subscribe