Taking the reins of such an iconic series as Ghostbusters would be a daunting task for any director. But Jason Reitman, the mastermind behind the franchise’s newest chapter Ghostbusters: AfterlifeHe has Ghostbusters in his blood – he’s not only a huge fan of the legendary 80s adventures, he’s also the son of Ivan Reitman, who brought the first two posts to the big screen and who also contributes his producer chops life after death.
Instead of being weighed down by the shadow of his father’s films, the younger Reitman saw his father’s involvement and presence on the set of life after death as a great blessing for this entry. “I was fortunate to have not only the world’s leading Ghostbusters expert next to me,” Reitman told me when we sat down, “but also one of my favorite storytellers.”
“It’s funny,” he laughs, “I’m the kid of a Ghostbuster, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I would make a movie about a Ghostbuster’s granddaughter when it came to making a Ghostbusters movie. And there was no way I could do that except with my father right by my side. “
This father-son relationship has a great deal of consistency between life after death and the original Ghostbusters films, which the new film is a direct sequel to. Though over 30 years have passed life after death really feels like part of the same world we were first introduced to in 1984. Its tone, comedy and design will be instantly recognized by fans of the originals.
“We tried to mimic the original film in every possible way, and especially in the comedy. That’s why we cast actors like Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace. ”Joining these big stars is relative newcomer Logan Kim, who plays podcasts, a shrewd outsider with a penchant for microphones and audio recorders.
“You know, the audience doesn’t know him yet,” Reitman nods, “but I think they’ll love him. He feels just like the guy you would have cast in the original. “
But the feeling of jumping back into the world from the original films doesn’t end with the humor. life after death begins with a still nameless family who discovers that they have just inherited a dilapidated farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Previously occupied by Phoebe (Grace) and Trevors (Wolfhard) absent grandfather, the house is crammed from floor to ceiling with books about the paranormal, unused farm implements and, it turns out, ghost hunter gear.
And when it comes to the look and feel of the iconic Ghost Trap and other classic tools, there aren’t any sleek redesigns here. The chunky, worn ’80s look from the original films is perfectly preserved; these could be taken directly from the studio’s archives. Practical effects and physical props are heavily represented, with CGI limited to a small selection of scenes in order to preserve the style of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.
“We always wanted to get the original recipe for a Ghostbusters movie. And that included really doing the archeology, understanding how they made the original, and finding ways to combine the latest computer technology with the old school Hollywood effects. “
Reitman’s desire to bring different technologies together is best demonstrated in a scene in which the Terror Dog returns, a fan-favorite monster whose image has surely burned itself into the minds of anyone who saw the original film as a child. The beast is back and it’s more terrifying than ever thanks to a mix of practical and digital effects. And we have a first look at his resurrection in this exclusive clip:
Regarding the creation of practical effects, Reitman said: “We’re talking about magnets and wires and smoke and mirrors, animatronics, dolls. We basically had a real Terror Dog on set run by the greatest puppeteers alive. It’s this kind of filmmaking that I think gives the film its feel and tone. It’s this grounded camera work. It plays on real sets instead of on green screen stages.
“So when you stand in front of the Terror Dog and he looks you in the eye, you feel it. There are just no two options. It gets a lot more intimidating when you have those puppeteers who bring the thing to life and make you feel like you’re in the presence of a real creature. “
It’s not just monsters that return life after death; The film is littered with Easter eggs that fans can spot with eagle eyes. When asked about his favorite, Reitman couldn’t be forced to pick just one. “I’ll give you a few to look for,” he laughs. “There’s a line from the original film where Egon Spengler says, ‘I had half a slinky once, but I straightened it,’ so there’s a straightened slinky somewhere in the movie if you can find it. There’s also the ghost sniffer that Bill Murray used from the original in Dana’s apartment. “
And given appropriately Ghostbusters: Afterlife is “a film about a family, from a family”, Reitman couldn’t help but smuggle in a reference to his father’s earlier work. “There is also a reference to Cannibal Girls, my father’s first film,” he teases.
This family connection clearly means a lot to him. One who is at the center of this new film and who resonates on the big screen through him and everyone else who was involved in the production.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife launches exclusively in theaters on November 19th. Buy your tickets here.