When something’s lurking in your neighborhood, who are you going to call? The original Ghostbusters film not only catapulted its stars to comedic acclaim, but it also spawned multiple sequels and reboots.
After writer Dan Aykroyd read a parapsychology journal article, he came up with a movie story line about trapping ghosts.
“I thought, I’ll devise a system to trap ghosts … and marry it to the old ghost [films] of the 1930s,” the Canada native recalled to Vanity Fair in June 2014. “Virtually every comedy team did a ghost movie — Abbott and Costello, Bob Hope. I was a big fan of [them].”
The Saturday Night Live alum then enlisted Ivan Reitman as director, along with Bill Murray and the late Harold Ramis to round out the trio of hunters.
The 1984 film followed three parapsychologists who were forced out of their university due to lack of funding. They subsequently set up a unique ghost removal service in Manhattan to make ends meet.
“I wanted the film to be my New York movie,” Reitman told Vanity Fair in June 2014, which Aykroyd agreed upon, calling it “the greatest city in the world, an architectural masterpiece [and] energy central for human behavior.”
Three decades later, the cast — including Aykroyd, Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts — joined forces once again for Entertainment Weekly’s annual reunion issue in 2014.
“I knew it was gonna be a huge movie,” Murray said at the cover shoot in November 2014. “At that point, we were still watching Yankee Doodle Dandy on TV, so I thought we had a shot. … We had that car. And in the uniforms, with the car, even the cops thought we were above them somehow [as they drove around] running red lights, [going the] wrong way on a one-way street.”
Several years later, Paul Feig rebooted the film’s premise with an all-female crew of supernatural sleuths, including Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon.
“To be able to hand Ghostbusters over to these incredibly talented women felt perfect, and it was time,” Weaver said of passing the torch to a new generation of stars during a July 2016 interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “There is such wonderful chemistry between the four of them. That does remind me of the boys because they were old friends and they had worked together a lot too. That kind of comedic pairing is just gold. You just turn the camera on and let them go at it.”
Weaver and Aykroyd even made a quick cameo in the reboot, telling the outlet, “I think the fans are going to be pleased by how we pop up. It’s just a very sweet movie but also very funny and kind of crazy. I think that’s a big part of what films can do — take us to another world.”
By November 2021, the original stars returned for more in the Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel, which tells the story of a single mother who moves to a new town with her two kids. Soon after, they learn that they have a surprising connection to the OG Ghostbusters and discover the secret legacy that their grandfather left behind.
“It was full joy, wall to wall,” Aykroyd told The Hollywood Reporter that November of his return to the beloved character. “What a privilege to be asked back to do that. It was creative satisfaction working again with Ernie, Bill and Sigourney. If it weren’t for Jason [Reitman] and Ivan [Reitman], I don’t know if we would have had the magnificent cast. To hang with brothers like that, family, it’s always fun — memories of good and maybe bad. Some [previous] friction came from how long we had to wear those proton packs and the level of complaint we issued.”
Scroll below to see what the cast has been up to since the original movie’s 1984 release: