As each month passes, the hopeful spring start date for Ghostbusters 3 becomes increasingly unlikely.
While Sony Pictures, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman have already signed-off on the much revised Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky screenplay, there still remains one final hurdle to overcome... the Bill Murray factor.Last week, Lee Eisenberg and Ghostbusters 3 producer Joe Medjuck separately discussed the stalled production of the highly-anticipated return of everyone’s favorite parapsychologists. Despite being on opposite sides of the country, both discussions quickly turned to Bill Murray and his reluctancy to sign-off on the Ghostbusters' final installment - or even read the script.
Eisenberg, visiting his alma mater Connecticut College to kick off a series of lectures, talked about the lengthy waiting period they're in because of Murray:
"Right now, we have a script we haven't worked on probably in a couple of months, and we're waiting for Bill Murray to read it. People seem excited about it, and the studio seems high on it. ... We're very proud of it. We worked really hard on it, and I think it'd be a really fun movie."
Additionally, Eisenberg noted how involved Reitman, Aykroyd and Ramis have been during the writing process, noting that Ramis will now receive a story credit on the film because of it:
"We've been working really closely with Ivan Reitman for a couple years on it. Dan Aykroyd has been really involved. Harold Ramis has been very involved - we're sharing a story credit on it with him. Then we reworked the script. I mean, that script went through a lot of rewrites, and it kept getting, we think at least, tighter and funnier. It took a little bit to really understand the tone of a movie like Ghostbusters. It's really scary when you're writing characters you grew up on. ... The last thing you want to do is disappoint."
On the other side of the country, Ghostbusters 1, 2 & 3 producer (and longtime producing partner of Ivan Reitman) Joe Medjuck attended the Ghostbusters screening at the Arclight Cinema. Following the film’s presentation, Medjuck, along with other members of the Ghostbusters special effects team (including William Atherton), fielded questions from the audience.
Obviously, the first thing that came up was Ghostbusters 3. While Medjuck related similar information regarding Bill Murray, he provided a more in-depth look at the process – or lack there of – that Murray is known for and how Murray didn’t even read the script for the original Ghostbusters until the first day of filming.
"Sony says they’d like to make it, everyone thinks it’s a good script. Bill has heard it’s a good script, but he hasn’t read it. Bill’s like that – he just says he’s busy.
Harold tells a very funny story about the several months it took to get Bill to read the script for Groundhog Day. Every week or so, [Bill] would go up to Harold and say, “You know, I read 10 pages… they’re really good. Is it going to stay this good?”
He hasn’t even read 10 pages [of Ghostbusters 3] yet, to the best of our knowledge.
[Regarding the original Ghostbusters] Bill just committed to it... he just said yes. He went to India to make The Razor's Edge. I don’t think he even read the script [for Ghostbusters] until he arrived back, [and] the day he came back, we shot with him."
You can watch the entire Ghostbusters Q&A from the Arclight Cinema below:
Perhaps it’s the fact that Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are behind this screenplay and not Aykroyd, Ramis and Reitman that’s causing much of Murray’s hesitation. The fact that Eisenberg and Stupnitsky's Year One bombed in theaters certainly can't help matters.
Whether it be hell or high water, someone needs to find a way to get Murray to at least read the script. As it's been stated many times before, Murray is one of the five rights holders to Ghostbusters and there can be no movie unless Murray signs-off on it - even if he doesn't want to appear in it. Maybe some nice messages on his famed 1-800 number will help sway the comedic genius… or begging. Whatever works.
Ghostbusters 3 is slated to begin production this spring.