The funniest women on the planet are now busting ghosts

Ghostbusters star Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig are just kids trying to make each other laugh


Photos: Sony Pictures Singapore

The all-new Ghostbusters movie features an all-female cast, but it’s not for novelty’s sake: It’s just that Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones simply happen to be the funniest people in existence, according to director Paul Feig.

Paul and Melissa are in Singapore to promote the movie, which debuts here on July 14. It is an action-packed take on the original 1984 comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver.

At the a press conference held on Monday (June 13) at the ArtScience Museum, Paul, who also directed Melissa in other films, including Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy, said he loved working with funny women.

“I realised, when I was going to make this movie: ‘Why did the original work so well?’ It worked because of that cast, and those four ghostbusters, who were, at the time, the funniest people working,” Paul recounted. “All I said was, ‘I need to create that chemistry here. I know the funniest women on the planet. I’m going to put them in this movie.’ And that was really the only agenda I had — to make people laugh.”

The new all-female Ghostbusters cast featuring Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon

Paul and Melissa are so good at drawing chuckles from others because they crack each other up in the first place. “We are usually like two 11-year-olds trying to make each other laugh,” Melissa said.

“Nobody laughs at our jokes more than we do. We think we’re hilarious,” agreed Paul.

In the movie, Melissa plays a paranormal expert who teams up with three friends to fight ghosts who threaten to engulf New York City. The rebooted story also sheds some light on the characters’ backstories while retaining the elements that are favourites with fans, such as the Ecto-1, the proton packs and the slime, said Paul.

“Since we were doing a reboot and a new origins story, we realised, ‘Let’s have fun with showing where these things came from. In the original one, they sort of had the proton packs already. For us it was fun, like, ‘Let’s see how they developed it’,” he said.

Melissa shared that she had been keen on doing all her own stunts. “Something’s wrong with me! I’m always like, ‘I should do that. I should take that three-storey fall.’ I have terrible instincts. I like to try to hurt myself,” she quipped.

But there was one “stunt” she almost regretted doing: Getting splattered with the iconic green slime.

Paul and Melissa addressing local and international media at the Ghostbusters press conference in Singapore

“You can’t wash it off. When you try to do it with water, it reactivates and doubles, and you start to feel crazy because you’re like, ‘I’m washing it and yet there’s more’,” she said. “It took a couple days to get that off.”

Paul added: “I normally don’t make my actors do anything I wouldn’t do. I will do the stunt before they do. This is the one time I said, ‘You’re on your own.’”

Since the ghostbusters are an all-girl team, the role of their vapid but good-looking receptionist is filled by Chris Hemsworth. The surprise, said Melissa, is that “no one mentioned that he was bizarrely funny”.

She added: “He was one of the best improvisors I’ve ever worked with — and I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of really funny guys. He just kind of blew us all away.”

“It’s not fair. You can’t look like that and be funny,” Paul deadpanned.

Gender role reversals are just one of Paul’s interesting takes on the original movie.

“It is 32 years after the original movie and I wanted to reboot this for a new generation ... When the original one came out it was so cool to see them shoot the proton guns but at the same time, 30 years later, I think you need to add more to that,” he said.

The new Ghostbusters, Melissa thinks, will have something for both fans of the original film and those who might be too young to remember it. “There is a massive amount of people who are going to see this for the first time and I think it works so well for both (groups),” she said.

Ghostbusters opens in theatres on July 14.

This story first appeared on TODAY
Story by May Seah

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