After years of suspense, the third Ghostbusters film is finally happening, but it was greenlit without one of the original stars.
As you may recall, Dan Aykroyd produced the first two Ghostbusters films (in 1984 and 1989) along with co-star Harold Ramis (respectively playing Dr. Stanz and Dr. Spengler). The pair brought on comedian and friend Bill Murray to fill the role of the primary protagonist and point-of-view character of the film, Dr. Venkman.
Since the mid 90’s there has been discussion of getting a third film into production, but efforts on Aykroyd and Ramis’ parts did not come into full force until that last five years or so, when they’ve been hiring writers, passing scripts around, and talking about what they want the new film to be. The stumbling block to getting this film off the ground has been Murray, who has frequently rejected scripts or, according to Aykroyd, simply didn’t return phone calls for months on end.
Several times in the last few years, Aykroyd - who has been much more vocal about the project than Ramis, taking all the interviews and such – has talked about the possibility of having to do the film without Murray, and even having some story ideas ready for the possibility that the actor would not be available.
For his part, Murray has never come right out and said he doesn’t want to do it - usually resorting to something along the lines of needing to wait until a script for the film comes along which is good enough to make it worth doing.
Now, however, after years of going back and forth, Aykroyd has announced that the film will be going forward with or without Murray.
"Yes, we've got a brilliant new writer on it and we'll be passing the torch on to a new generation,” he said in an interview with Metro, making reference to a previously announced possible plot line, in which a new team of young Ghostbusters is trained by the old team. "We're working on it to make it just right to satisfy our fans. I'm confident we'll be in production in the next year ... now we've got the studio on side. We've tried a few concepts which weren't right but now we've got a good structure and will make it happen."
When asked directly about Murray’s involvement the producer/actor said, "It's sad but we're passing it on to a new generation. Ghostbusters 3 can be a successful movie without Bill. My preference would be to have him involved but at this point he doesn't seem to be coming and we have to move on. It's time to make the third one."
It sounds like he is still hoping that Murray will change his mind and show up for the casting call (or, more likely, just show up on set one day) but has decided that a film without the funnyman is better than no film at all.
Ghostbusters 3 is currently in development, and will begin casting soon. Production will begin next year, and the release of the film, if everything stays on track, will likely fall within the 2014 Summer blockbuster season, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the first film.