With Paul Feig’s all-new, all-female Ghostbusters reboot featuring a female team, the two main leads are filled by Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy while the other two members of the crew are portrayed by Saturday Night Live cast members Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. And while Wiig and McCarthy are quite good and do kind of what you would expect (Wiig is more straight-laced, McCarthy boisterous and loud — although she pulls it back a bit in this story), it’s Jones and McKinnon who are the breakouts.
Jones brings confidence, attitude and an everywoman quality to former MTA worker Patty Tolan, who quits her job to join the Ghostbusters and acts almost as the audience surrogate, as well as a walking encyclopedia of New York City lore. But it’s McKinnon who walks away with the movie as Jillian Holtzmann, the nuclear engineer who builds all of the team’s weapons and is either observing everyone around her with amused detachment or listening to the mad genius voices in her head. You can’t take your eyes off her whenever she’s on the screen.
Screen Rant spoke with both women during the recent Ghostbusters press day in Los Angeles, and managed to get in a question or two between the jokes…
Congratulations to the two of you for a great job in this movie…
Kate McKinnon: Thank you. (Turns to Jones with hand out) Congratulations.
Leslie Jones: Congratulations (They shake hands).
Your agent calls you up and says “Ghostbusters” and you say…
Jones: “Hell, yeah!”
McKinnon: “Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh!” But that was happy. That was happy. Crazy. Best phone call.
What was it about the project and these characters that appealed to you?
Jones: That I got to be the person that represents the people in the audience, ‘cause I’m a real person that comes into a situation where I’ve never been. And they have experience with ghosts but I don’t, so I’m bringing — saying the stuff that the audience would say.
McKinnon: I wanted to play a scientist, I wanted to play someone who was a little wacky, and I wanted to have my hair up. And so — it was mostly the hair that sold me on it.
Jones: And the jumpsuit.
McKinnon: Yeah, and the jumpsuit.
I read somewhere that you (McKinnon) said you were kind of a geek at heart. Is that true?
McKinnon: Kind of…
Jones: Yes. Yes. She made me quiz her on capitals.
McKinnon: I was on a mission to memorize all of the capitals of the countries of the world and I enlisted Leslie’s help. She loved it; she loved every second of it. In fact, she was asking me to do it.
How did she do?
Jones: She did great but she didn’t get none of the African countries.
McKinnon: I hadn’t yet memorized them. I was going continent by continent. Anyway…
McKinnon: I don’t remember.
When you were a kid in your room, did you ever build something that could have blown up the room if you weren’t careful?
Jones: Sir, she built something while we were on set.
McKinnon: I did have like soldering kits when I was younger and I made a phone once. And so while we were filming, I ordered another soldering kit and I did it on the weekend, ‘cause I wanted a refresher course on soldering.
Jones: Tell him what you made.
McKinnon: I made a little alarm. (Turns to Jones) I know, you can shoot me if you want.
Jones: I love her.
McKinnon: I didn’t want you to at the beginning of the day but now you have my permission to shoot me (both laugh).
Leslie, you said you represent the audience in this. Could you find your way around all the little corners and crevices of New York if you had to?
Jones: In real life? Hell, no. I get lost every day. The cab drivers could literally take my money ‘cause I wouldn’t know where he was going or how he was getting there. I get lost in New York all the time.
McKinnon: You’re working on it.
Jones: I’m working on it. I’m going to different spots. Like, I just found out that downtown is, like, the Village. I thought downtown was where we were working at, at Rockefeller (Center). It’s on 50th Street! That’s downtown!
McKinnon: Her perspective is skewed.
If you get to do a sequel, where would you like to see Holtzmann and Patty go?
Jones: St. Tropez, right?
McKinnon: St. Tropez, Capri, Corsica, the Greek Isles, you know…
Jones: Corsica? I don’t want to go there. That doesn’t even sound like it’s fun.
McKinnon: Somewhere nice.
Jones: Sounds like there’s a bunch of corsets there. (Both laugh)
Thank you very much, ladies.
Jones: I hope you got what you needed!
Ghostbusters opens in U.S. theaters July 15, 2016.