While overall fan opinion on Paul Feig's all-female Ghostbusters reboot remains sharply divided, that hasn't changed the fact the film is on the fast track toward entering production, and it seems like each week brings us new insights into Feig's creative process as he prepares to resurrect one of the most beloved franchises in pop culture history. This week is no different, as Feig recently revealed a rather unlikely source of inspiration for his revamped Ghostbusters: The Walking Dead.
Feig gave his reasoning for the unexpected creative connection between Ghostbusters and The Walking Dead on this past Sunday's episode of Chris Hardwick-hosted chat show The Talking Dead:
I will say, I was very inspired by this show. What I love is how they play with the danger, they play with the scariness, but also the idea that it’s always about gauntlet run. And that’s something, an element I want to bring to this 'Ghostbusters' reboot is having to get through these various obstacles that are supernatural and all that. I really feed off of 'The Walking Dead.'
Well, that's certainly an interesting aspect for Feig to bring to the Ghostbusters formula, although it does once again beg the question as to what exactly he wants the tone of his Ghostbusters reboot to be. No matter one's specific opinion of The Walking Dead as a show, it's impossible to deny the series' well-deserved reputation of being almost relentlessly dour.
Things rarely go right for Rick Grimes and company, with the group seemingly never more than a few episodes away from meeting another gang of people that intend to murder, maim, torture, and/or eat them. That's hardly an aesthetic style conducive to a Ghostbusters film.
Of course, it's possible Feig is saying that he only plans to incorporate the "gauntlet run" aspect of The Walking Dead into Ghostbusters, and leave behind the more sullen components of the series. If that's the case, we may be looking at a more amped up, action-centric Ghostbusters story than Ivan Reitman gave us back in 1984. The original Ghostbusters were certainly tasked with containing and overcoming an escalating amount of paranormal activity, but there was never really a "ticking clock" feel to the proceedings.
Ghostbusters was and is a comedy more than anything else, and was never afraid to stop and engage in absurd supernatural hijinks. One would be hard pressed to call battling Slimer in a hotel and then frying a marshmallow man as "running the gauntlet" Walking Dead-style.
That said, if Feig intends to up the scariness factor, and make his Ghostbusters run the gauntlet, his casting choices seem odd. Wiig, McCarthy, Jones, and McKinnon have all demonstrated the ability to make audiences laugh on multiple occasions, but are about as far from action stars as one could imagine.
Ramis, Akyroyd, Murray, and Hudson weren't the conventional hero types either, but they were never really presented as anything other than scientists (and one average guy along for the ride) who stumble through the ghost catching business, fumbling things just as often as they save the day. That template would seem like a natural fit for Feig's cast, but not if he's basing their journey off of something like The Walking Dead.
As Ghostbusters' 2016 release date draws ever closer, here's hoping Feig sits down for an in-depth interview and really clarifies his intentions for the franchise. He's said he wants to make a scarier film than the original, yet casts a group of comediennes in the leads. He wants his characters to run the gauntlet, yet also talks about how hilarious the film will be.
Crossing genres is a feat rarely accomplished to perfection, with the original Ghostbusters being one of the most obvious examples of that achievement. If Feig intends to make an action-packed comedy with strong horror elements work, he's got a long, hard road ahead indeed.
Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot debuts on July 22, 2016.
Source: Talking Dead [via ScreenCrush]