|05.11.08||Back off, man. I'm a scientist.|
|10.22.05||Paramount||This Screening is part of event: Austin Film Festival 2005|
Day Three of AFF: I forgot it's Saturday and arrived downtown ludicrously early for the screening of Ghostbusters with Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson in attendance. Showing at the Paramount, the insane lines around the block I experienced for Shopgirl a few nights ago were now a half dozen guys sitting on the sidewalk working on laptops. The theater filled up a bit though, with people filtering in even after it started. There was a similar occurrence yesterday for The Ape and a friend of mine mentioned the same thing for a movie he had seen. At this point, another few people come in five minutes late and sit right in front of us.
By now, everybody knows this film. You certainly don't need me to comment on it. I'll just say that it was great to see it up on the big screen again, and I noticed a moment for the first time (after they accidentally trash the maid's cart in the hotel, you can see her in the background trying to put a small fire out by spraying Windex at it). Comedy classic? Who knows, but people sure love it. During the end credits, a few people were even singing along, yelling out "Ghostbusters!" for all of us to enjoy.
Afterward, there was some Ghostbuster Q&A:
-Dan Aykroyd moment: When he made Blues Brothers he declined the merchandising stuff because he didn't want his face on every lunchbox in America. When he did Ghostbusters, he told Ramis, he did.
-Writerly "Message" of the film (according to Harold Ramis): We create our own monsters and nothing is more scary than our imagination but, with ingenuity, courage, committment, and a little help from your friends, there's nothing you can imagine that you can't confront and conquer.
-Ernie Hudson talked a bit about his experience on the film. He was very courteous and tactful, saying that the original script that he read was and is still fantastic, but there were some frustrations when the script changed. Ramis then gave us the dirt that Winston's part was originally much more of a presence with lots of great scenes, but as will happen on a movie, the larger, well-paid stars of the film start looking at the script and thinking "why don't I get these great scenes?" So a lot of Winston's stuff was lost to Bill & Danny's characters, leaving Hudson to come in on page 68 instead of 8.
This was also the movie where Ernie Hudson realized that instead of being rich & famous, you could be poor & popular.
-Slimer was based on the spirit of John Belushi: a slob that's funny but also a little scary at the same time.
-The original script and a lot of core ideas came from Dan Aykroyd, who's really into the ghost stuff in real life. In fact, he even used to have a Canadian TV show called Psi-Factor where he talked about and went in search of paranormal activity. Ramis also mentioned that Danny would go around talking about a lot of the little references his character made in real life, mentioning to friends "did you know that a patch of Russian wilderness was completely cleared in 1909 and nobody can explain it?" and things along that line.
-When asked about ad libbing on the set, Ramis said that what sounds spontaneous is probably written and what sounds written is probably improv'd. He then went into a distinction between ad libbing and improvisation, which is what most of those guys were trained in. "There's consultation, we talk it out before we shoot so it's not just a spur of the moment thing," but he also mentioned that with so many writers and directors in the cast, it was always pretty quick with changes and tweaks.
-Ramis is still friendly with Aykroyd but doesn't have very much interaction with Murray, who is apparently becoming more and more of a recluse. He's fired his agent, his lawyer, and now has an 800 number to call if you want to get in contact with him.
-As a last question, someone asked Ernie if there are any lines that he gets in public a lot that he's tired of and Hudson answered by saying he just did a play where the whole cast had at least 20 years experience in acting but none of them had done any film or TV work. He's been in the business for 40 years and some of his close actor friends have never been seen in anything, so to have the opportunity to be in a movie, especially one as culturally present as Ghostbusters, is really a treat he treasures every day. So when people come up to him and say "That's a big Twinkie" or "I've seen sh** that will turn you WHITE" he doesn't really mind at all.
As a final comment, Ramis threw in a conversation he had with William Atherton, who played the EPA scumbag in the film. He had lunch with Atherton not long after Ghostbusters was a hit and said "so isn't it great that it's becoming so popular?" Atherton replied "there was a whole bus of teenagers the other day and I heard one kid say 'Hey, Peck!' so I turned around and the entire bus yelled 'DICKLESS!'"
They also threw a Ghostbusters party complete with Egon drink, but I was much more interested in seeing the next film: The Matador.