It’s strange to think that Ghostbusters was released 30 years ago, let alone that one of the key players in the film both in front of and behind the camera is no longer with us. The film is one of the seminal works of the 80s and of the childhoods of basically everyone I know. Esquire Magazine has put together an oral history of the movie and it’s most definitely worth reading.
MICHAEL OVITZ: Dan and Bernie got me the script just as I was going to London. I read it on the plane, and I was laughing so hard that it was embarrassing.
IVAN REITMAN: I was told about the idea before, back in the Belushi days. It just didn’t register, and I didn’t pay much attention to it. But finally, I read it and thought, “Wow, this is an amazing idea.” But it would have cost something like $200 million to make. It took place in the future, with many groups of Ghostbusters functioning in an intergalactic setting.
OVITZ: That’s just Danny. He’s never written anything that doesn’t have intergalactic stuff.
AYKROYD: It was a lot darker. And scarier.
REITMAN: I had lunch with Danny at Art’s Delicatessen, and I basically said, “There’s a great idea here, but the script you’ve written is impossible to make. Don’t you think we should set it on planet Earth and not in the future, which would make all the extraordinary stuff feel funnier?’, And then I pitched the idea of having them start at a university. Dan was great, and very open. So I called up Harold Ramis and pitched him what I wanted to do.
The whole story is both interesting and enlightening, I always love seeing the strange places an idea that work out so well comes from. Who knows, maybe Intergalactic Ghostbusters could have been cool, but I doubt it would have been as cool as the film we ended up with.