Paul Feig, the man who directed and co-wrote the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot, joined co-writer Katie Dippold and moderator Christopher Boone for a script-to-screen unpacking of the bizarrely controversial and often very funny comedy.
“Neither one of us took this job to destroy childhoods,” Feig said of the bonkers internet backlash against the very idea of the 2016 reboot. “You kind of put your head down and say you’re pure of heart and just want to make a good movie. You can only have death wished upon you so many times before it loses it sting.”
Dippold described herself as a very neurotic person and said it’s gotten to the point where what once made her upset barely registers a blip on her emotional radar anymore. “I got used to it” she said, adding that it’s made her “a little less afraid” to try genuinely scary things.
The Post-It Notes. During the shoot, Dippold would write jokes on Post-It Notes and hand them to Feig. “Our goal is always to have shot as many jokes as we can,” Feig says. “You put together the best script you can, you have plenty of “alts” (alternative lines) on those jokes because you just never know what an audience is going to like.” This means lots and lots and lots of takes. “You know a scene is fine when the crew wants to murder you,” Feig said.
Kate McKinnon might be as odd and smart as Holtzmann. “She is a beautiful weirdo,” Feig said. To get a feel for the character, Feig interviewed McKinnon as Holtzmann for “like an hour, and she said all this really great awesome stuff and I sent it to Katie.”
“Holtzmann is the kind of person I want to be,” Dippold said. “Anything that would make someone anxious, she wouldn’t feel any anxiety.” McKinnon sent the two an email with a list of traits Holtzmann might have. “Some were really heavy,” Dippold said, “like Holtzmann would be afraid to fall in love because she couldn’t handle that person dying and I was like, ‘OH MY GOD.'”
Feig keeps a model of the Titanic and a bust of Shakespeare on his desk. “No matter how good everything is going, it could still go down” and “None of us are Shakespeare. If you are so religious about your words (that you don’t have improvisation_ you are cutting off such a font of talent (in good comic actors). I don’t even do rehearsals anymore because I’ve been burned too many times (by the best moment in rehearsal).”
Feig is a big believer in test screenings. “A comedy director must have no ego,” he said, noting that two big microphones record test screening laughs so he knows what does and doesn’t work.
and finally, Kevin’s interview was largely improvised during a five hour shoot. The entire subplot of Kristin Wiig’s character having a crush on Kevin, the moronic assistant played by Chris “Thor” Hemsworth, was improvised by Wiig.
At one point, light reflected off Hemsworth’s glasses, the lens were taken out, and Hemsworth scratched his eye through the empty lens, resulting in riffing on that.
Hemsworth was also responsible for the “Michael Hat” riff.
“He made the comment about the dog being named ‘My cat,'” Feig said, “and I thought, ‘Eh, that joke is OK,’ then he made the ‘Mike Hat’ joke and then ‘His full name is Michael Hat’ line and suddenly I noticed, “Oh God, this is actually a brilliant run.'”