Spy director Paul Feig had no idea just how violently the misogynists would lash out against his all-women Ghostbusters reboot.
“It was like taking a shit on Star Wars,” Feig joked Saturday at SXSW, where he’s set to premiere his third collaboration with Bridesmaids and The Heat muse Melissa McCarthy.
Feig found that out the hard way when he took to Twitter to announce his cast, a murderer’s row of Hollywood power comediennes led by McCarthy, his Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig, and Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.
“There’s a group of guys [who saw it at] 8 or 9 years old,” he said. “All these guys grew up with it and it became this real male bonding thing.”
Sadly for humanity, some of those 8-year-old fanboys grew up into grown men who just could not handle the concept of a gender-bending Ghostbusters. They hit the Internet en masse like whiny babies, taking Feig by surprise: “You can’t believe it’s 2015, especially with all the Gamergate stuff—everything’s f--ked up.”
Sure, some of the haters are your run-of-the-mill Ghostbusters purists, but “for me it’s like, but you have that. That exists. I’m not going to destroy every copy of the first two movies,” he said.
“There are so many funny women I want to work with, and it was always considered such a ‘guy’ movie,” he continued. Besides, Sony was never quite able to bring back the original Ghostbusters cast for a straight sequel.
“With Harold [Ramis] gone, with Bill [Murray] not wanting to do it—and I love Dan [Aykroyd] and Ernie [Hudson]… there were scripts I read by great comedy writers who I know. But it always felt, by nobody’s fault whatsoever, that one of the wheels was off the cart. It always kind of had the conceit of, well, they’ve fallen from grace or they’ve been forgotten. That’s like saying suddenly Neil Armstrong is forgotten for landing on the moon. It’s like, no—he’s always going to be a hero.”
Ironically, Feig’s Ladybusters will usher in an even bigger franchise reboot now that Sony’s tapped the Russo Brothers and Channing Tatum for a male-centric sequel. But ladies first.
“I just wanted to bring it into a new world. To make a sequel 25 years later just felt odd,” said Feig, who’s still mixing his Fox comedy Spy for a June 5 release and starts lensing Ghostbusters this summer. “The fun is in, ‘Oh my god, there are ghosts?!’ and how do you develop these packs? I love origin stories, so it felt fun to hit the reset button.”