As we all know, or probably should if you have bothered to read anything posted in this blog, the re-make, re-imagining, re-whatever, has become a staple for Hollywood, and the film industry as a whole. It’s easy to see why. Why take a risk on brand new I.P. (Intellectual Property) when you can plough money into an already recognised and well loved property. Sometimes, this works, the recent remake of Piranha, (with added naked Kelly Brook swimming in 3D!!) was a perfect example of a Friday night movie. Sometimes though, it doesn’t, do we really need a new origin story for Spider-man, when we already had one 10 years ago? Time will tell on that one, but what is sure, is the fact that Studios are constantly looking to re-invent, re-imagine and re-make older properties.
If we accept this fact, and it looks like we are going to have to, we may as well play along with the studios. In this semi-regular column, I will look to re-make, re-imagine or indeed, re-invent, a classic film from my youth, recasting the roles and trying to make the best of a bad situation. Now don’t get me wrong, I by no means feel that these films need to be re-made etc. and it is important to remember that a remake by no means diminishes the original, but it is bound to be discussed some day, and if by some miracle a Hollywood suit reads this and decides I am right, then at least I will be happy, and perhaps slightly richer. So without further ado, today’s film will be…GHOSTBUSTERS.
Ghostbusters is a personal favourite of mine, I remember my Mum taking me to see the film when I was about 3 or 4. I had pestered her to see it, she had to take me out of the screen early because the statue turning into the demon dog, scared the shit out of me, but I got over that. I didn’t really know at the time that the film was full of SNL regulars and some of the greatest comedy talent of the 80’s. For me it was a funny, scary and spectacular movie, and I wanted my own Proton pack, and to live in a fire station more than anything.
For a few years now there has been talk of a Ghostbusters III, with various rumours of rejected scripts, Bill Murray not being bothered and the time not being right. The story seems to be a tale of the old guard passing the torch to new Ghostbusters, a good idea in my view, but in the spirit of this column, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and choose to re-make Ghostbusters. Keep the story, why change it it’s classic, but I will re-cast the film, or at least the principle characters, so here goes…. (O.P.B. = Originally Played By).
Dr. Peter Venkman, O.P.B. Bill Murray
Venkman is the linch pin of the Ghostbusters, cast him wrong and the film fails. This was a hard decision to make. Peter is a bit of a joke, an ass-hole with a heart, I have then chosen to cast John C. Reilly. He has proven his comedy chops in films such as Step Brothers, Talladega Nights and Walk Hard, and he has that certain Murray quality to him. He can play an ass-hole when needed, but is still very likeable, the perfect Venkman.
Dr. Egon Spengler, O.P.B. Harold Ramis
Egon is the brains of the outfit, he needs to be of superior intellect but still part of the crew. I’ve gone for Jason Segel to play Egon. Not only is his chemistry with another of the cast amazing, I think that playing slightly against type would be an interesting experience for all involved. He has the Egon look, tall, somewhat gangly, and I was going to cast Will Ferrell, but thought that he would have been too Will Ferrell for the role. Segel can do under the radar and his chemistry with our next actor makes this a no brainer.
Dr. Ray Stanz, O.P.B. Dan Aykroyd
Ray is the heart of the Ghostbusters. His character calls for a likeable guy, warm and almost childlike at times. For Ray Stanz, I’ve gone for Paul Rudd. One of the greatest comedians working today, Rudd is fantastic in everything I’ve seen him in. Teaming him up with Segel would hopefully capture some of that Bro magic from I Love You Man. It would be a slightly different role for Rudd, but I can not think of a more likeable man working in films today.
Winston Zeddmore O.P.B. Ernie Hudson
Ernie Hudson played little more than hired help in the original, he didn’t have a huge role, but he was the audience, a useful device for the other Ghostbusters to explain a little of what they were doing. I think a strong actor would do well in this role, not necessarily a comedian. As such, I’ve chosen Idris Elba. He is awesome in everything he has done, will bring some acting chops to a smaller, but expanded in the sequel, role. He hasn’t done a great deal of comedy, but has shown in the Losers that he has a great presence in films like this.
Louis Tully O.P.B. Rick Moranis
A lawyer, and possessed Key Master of Gozer, Moranis brought a geeky charm to the annoying neighbour who turns into a huge demon dog. I can think of no better man than Steve Carell to play this role. Surely I don’t need to explain why? Anyone who has seen The Office, or Anchorman can attest to this guys talents. It would be a joy to watch Carell become possessed, no one else could play this better.
Dana Barrett O.P.B. Sigorny Weaver
This is a tough role to cast. Weaver brought a lot of class to the original role, and I think it’s important to cast an actress who is not really known as a comedienne. In many ways, this has been the toughest role to cast, she needs to be beautiful, and classy. Hmm, well I’ve gone with the amazingly sexy and talented Christina Hendricks. Great on Mad Men, and although she hasn’t done loads of film work, I think she would do well as the love interest, plus, I find it amusing that such a stone cold fox ends up with John C. Reilly. Christina Hendricks all the way.
Walter Peck O.P.B. William Atherton
Now this might be a left field choice, but for the role of the government official who tries to close down New York’s Spookiest, I’m going to cast Aziz Ansari. This guy is hilarious in pretty much everything he’s in, and yes it is a small role, but Ansari is such a strong presence that he will make his mark. He is great in Parks & Recreation, equally good in a small role in Observe and Report, he can play ass-hole well, and most importantly, has a great beard.
Mayor O.P.B. David Margulies
The role of the Mayor is a perfect opportunity to cast a great little cameo, and I played with the idea of casting one of the original Ghostbusters as a bit of a wink and nod to the audience. I then thought maybe a respected star of the 80’s who wasn’t in the original, Chevy Chase came to mind, but then I thought no. I have thus chosen to cast Parks and Recreations own Ron Swanson, Nick Offerman. I notice he will play the police chief in the revamped 21 Jump Street movie, and I love him as Ron Swanson. If you don’t know who this guy is, I suggest you check out Park and Recreation, you will not regret it.
Gozer O.P.B. Slavitza Jovan
Probably only in the film for five minutes at most, Gozer is an important role as she/it sets up the finale. I originally thought that The Rock would be perfect in the role of a Babylonian deity, but thinking about it, The Rock poses too much of a threat, he could take all four Ghostbusters single handedly. It has to be a woman, because otherwise my new take on Ghostbusters is a sausage fest. Who though? Angelina Jolie did good work in a similar role in Beowulf. How about songstress La Roux? She certainly looks the part. No I’m going to opt for Centurion actress Olga Kurylenko. She is the perfect foil for the Ghostbusters, beautiful, but could kick your ass up and down ancient Scotland, or Central Park if needs be. Exotic beautiful and crazy are all that’s needed for this role, but the fact she is a rather good actress seals the deal.
So there we are, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below, I will also take suggestions for the next RE-MAKE!! column.