Who’d have thought that removing Dan Aykroyd from the driver’s seat of the Ghostbusters franchise would finally get a follow-up film in motion? Not that he’s completely absent from the process or anything, but Dan Aykroyd’s varyingly loony approaches to Ghostbusters 3 seemed doomed from the get-go, thanks in no small part to Bill Murray vehemently retaining his anti-sequel stance. Now that Paul Feig and co-writer Kate Dippold are moving forward with a completely unattached reboot, Murray has opened up a bit about leaving the franchise behind.
Murray is an actor that doesn’t do parts for money — and it would be ridiculous to think otherwise at this point in his career — so the fact that Ghostbusters 3 would have presumably made him a killing doesn’t really matter. He only wants to make films with stories that reach him, which is the opposite approach of how Sony wants to do things. Here’s how he put it in a recent interview with Variety:
The studio gets really crazy about it. What they really want to do is resurrect a franchise. The first one was a spectacular movie, one of the greatest movies. The second one was — (Murray makes an unimpressed sound) — It had some moves. It had a few good scenes in it.
And Aykroyd’s new takes on the material weren’t doing it for Murray either. “I read one that Danny [Aykroyd] wrote that was crazy bizarre and too crazy to comprehend,” he said. And you might remember that one revision that would have killed off Peter Venkman, only to have him return as a ghost himself. On that plot twist, Murray said, “It was kind of funny, but not well executed.”
He really says it best below, in a way that can be attributed to many actors’ hesitance in doing for-the-money sequels of earlier successes:
Those guys, Danny and Harold [Ramis], were at the top of their game. They were burning nitro at that moment. Unless you have a really clear vision, you’re always trying to recreate that.
The silver lining in Murray’s staunchly unchanged mind is, oddly enough, that his mind is still unchanged. There is still an off chance that he’ll take a small role in Feig’s movie if the idea suits him. Considering he won’t be shoehorned into an elderly Peter Venkman role, I think we’re probably closer to seeing him agree now than we ever were.
In the meantime, Murray has the currently buzzworthy comedy St. Vincent coming to theaters, and next year will see him starring in Barry Levinson’s music-centered comedy Rock the Kasbah, and Cameron Crowe’s untitled romantic comedy. “If all three of these are as good as I think they are, it could be easy,” Murray said. “I won’t have to think about Ghostbusters all the time.” That is, of course, until every single media outlet asks him about it during the junkets for each of those three movies.
With Murray or without him, a new Ghostbusters is coming.