TORONTO — The next incarnation of “Ghostbusters” will spawn another series of revivals if Dan Aykroyd gets his way.
In addition to the upcoming Jason Reitman-penned sequel, Aykroyd says he’s handed Reitman a script for a 1960s-era prequel, which would look at the teenage years of parapsychologists Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz, played by Aykroyd.
In fact, Aykroyd, who co-wrote the original, has pretty much mapped out the next several years of “Ghostbusters”-inspired material, including multiple followups to Reitman’s upcoming version, set to begin shooting this summer.
The gregarious funnyman was in full pitchman mode during a stop in Toronto to promote his Crystal Head Vodka and Mott’s Clamato for National Caesar Day on Thursday.
Over martinis, the former “Saturday Night Live” star discussed the 35th anniversary of the ghost-comedy’s 1984 original, the possibility of cannabis-infused vodka, and his spat with director Paul Feig over 2016’s female-centric “Ghostbusters” revival:
The Canadian Press: Several beverage companies are partnering with licensed cannabis producers to infuse their alcoholic beverages with cannabis. Are you interested?
Dan Aykroyd: The products have yet to be really tested well. I’ve tasted some of the beverages and they’re not that tasty because the CBD oil overrides. If they can get the flavours right, there may be a value there.
CP: Can it work with your vodka?
Aykroyd: With our vodka, we would be adding an oil and that would compromise our purity story so we don’t add oils. We go to distribution houses all over the world and they say: “Are you going to do flavours?” And when you say, “No,” they get up and cheer.
CP: Will cannabis cut into the beverage market?
Aykroyd: Everyone in the industry is anticipating that there’s going to be some kind of hit so at some point you’re going to have to marry the CBD and indeed the THC and the beverage, alcohol into something, perhaps a beer that has both in it — a legal level of THC and a legal level of alcohol. Or fruit drinks or something.
CP: Your “Ghostbusters” reboot has taken a long time to come to the screen.
Aykroyd: (Original director) Ivan Reitman’s son Jason has written a beautiful script, I can’t say too much about it but it’s going to get made and hopefully there’ll be some familiar faces…. But I don’t want to discount the work that the girls did with Paul Feig. I kind of got mad, but I realized I should have blamed myself as a producer, the costs were out of control, I should have been watching as a producer a little more, but you don’t dispute with your director.
You hire a director, you trust a director, you trust their vision. But the job that (stars) Kate (McKinnon), and Kristen (Wiig), and Leslie (Jones) and Melissa (McCarthy) did and indeed Paul did on that movie was superior, or superb. We would have done another one but, again, the cost overruns prevented the studio from looking at it and doing another ladies’ movie….
Now we’re going to do it in a sensible way. Costs will be under control and it’ll be brought in for a sensible budget without waste and that’s what’s important now in getting it made.
CP: What’s the budget?
Aykroyd: It’s definitely going to be way under $100 (million). I would think. Movies cost a lot today. It can’t be $30 (million), $50 (million) would be stretching it. I don’t know. Listen, it’s going to be as little as we can spend.
CP: Do cost concerns mean less effects or a more naturalist approach?
DA: I’m always urging to use puppets. I’m always urging to go back to the mechanicals. But CGI is so efficient and easy to use but I think that all of us are on board with the idea of maybe doing mechanicals and puppets where we can.
CP: Like the original.
DA: We were harnessed by the technology then. That was all you could do, was puppets and mechanicals and basic opticals. Now you can just do anything.
CP: Could this new one not incorporate the women’s story?
Aykroyd: It’s so different from even the first and second (film)…. This just takes it to a new generation and a new direction that is so warm, heartfelt and indeed, quite scary when you confront some of the issues that are being discussed.
CP: When did you first discuss this with Jason Reitman?
Aykroyd: Just within two years. Although I’ve written “Ghostbusters High,” where they meet in New Jersey in 1969 and we’re looking to do that as probably a glorified feature or pilot within the next maybe five years…. And it would lead to a television project and I thought of him immediately for that.
It’s on his desk but that’s years away from the current project. But it’s a neat idea for a prequel. Imagine casting the three characters as teenagers!
CP: So this is a feature for the theatre?
Aykroyd: Way, way down, though we have other stuff after the Jason Reitman-helmed movie. We have at least one or two other concepts for the “Ghostbusters” and then we’ll look at doing the prequel, which will be a perfect button on all we’ve done up to that point.
— This interview has been edited and condensed.
Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press