Ghostbusters first took the call to save New York City from paranormal peril.
As these mystic forces resurface to wreak havoc 37 years later in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (now in theaters) the most famous poltergeist battlers ever take the next call to duty. Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd, 69), Dr. Peter Venkman, (Bill Murray, 71) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson, 75) strap on proton packs once again in the name of deceased fourth member Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis, who died at 69 in 2014).
With fleeting cameo appearances in 2016’s “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call” the senior crew take center stagein the new film, joining forces a younger generation led by granddaughter-buster Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace).
“It never felt like I took off the jumpsuit or the proton pack,” says Aykroyd. “We were recalled into service. And we stepped up.”
USA TODAY talked to Aykroyd about crossing into the “Afterlife”:
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Question: How did you fit into the famed flight suits after all this time?
Dan Aykroyd: Ernie and Billy are probably the same size suit. I think mine was taken out at the waist, But movie cameras make you look good, the equipment felt good and I didn’t have to put another hole in the belt.
Q: Bill Murray was critical of ‘Ghostbusters II.’ How did you get him on board for this?
Aykroyd: Billy is very discriminating and has a high BS detector. He’s not going to do something that’s false in any way. Having his imprimatur made this whole thing valid. If he hadn’t done it, it would have been a massive hole. But he saw the merits, the joy and the possibilities here.
Q: Egon Spangler warned in “Ghostbusters” that you should never cross the streams due to minimal chance of surviving, but in ‘Afterlife,’ it happens and doesn’t kill. What gives?
Aykroyd: You should never cross the streams. You’re dealing with a million electron volts per thrower. That’s no good. In this case, it didn’t work. We were shocked. But the climax was against a demonic entity from another dimension with intense power. Without giving anything away, the way it went down on set, there was a lot of flashing lights and smoke. As actors, we believed (in those moments) because of the power of the set.
Q: ‘Afterlife’ adds a gunner seat in the Ecto-mobile, did you wish you thought of that?
Aykroyd: We did add some features to the Activision video game. I always wanted a Taliban-style turret at the top with proton packs under the seat. But they did well with that gunner seat. And the scene flying through the cornfield, that was exhilarating.
Q: Now that you have a fresh taste for battle, there’s reports of a fourth ‘Ghostbusters.’
Aykroyd: As the original co-writer (with Ramis) and creator of the characters, I have proprietary rights. They can’t make a movie without me granting theatrical rights. I would grant that, and if there’s a part for me, I would certainly play it again. But I don’t know what the status is for any further films.
Q: What would you like to see in a new ‘Ghostbusters’?
Aykroyd: I’d like to die. I think Bill and I should be killed in the next one. Or, maybe we wait. Why not use the living Ghostbusters – Ernie, Billy and myself – for four, five, and six? Go until we’re gone. Then there will be time for the tributes. Death is going to take us soon enough.
Q: I must ask about Britney Spears. As her screen father in 2002’s “Crossroads,” were you thrilled to see her freed from her restrictive conservatorship after 13 years?
Aykroyd: Absolutely. She works hard for her money, she’s matured and she’s going to be fine. But if she wants some help and advice, I’ll supply it gratis. Tell her to call me, I’ll double her fortunes in five years. I’d put her in Amazon, Tesla and Netflix stocks and just walk away, watch the money grow.
Q: With “SNL” getting so political, have you gotten a call from producer Lorne Michaels to return, and as which player?
Aykroyd: First of all, James Austin Johnson, the new ‘SNL’ cast member, is a tremendous impressionist. He does a great Trump and a great Biden. But when Trump was being impeached (in January), Lorne and I were discussing me coming back as Nixon to wake up Trump in a nightmare. But then so many other political things happened that just overtook it.
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