According to Deadline, the comedy legend has officially abandoned the director’s chair after the passing of his close friend and collaborator, though he’ll remain onboard as a producer and help Sony Pictures find a replacement.
“A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend and extraordinarily influential in my career,” Reitman says. “When I came back from Harold’s funeral, it was really moving and it made me think about a lot of things. I’d just finished directing Draft Day, which I’m really happy with and proud of. Working on a film that is smaller and more dramatic was so much fun and satisfying. I just finally met with [Sony’s] Amy [Pascal] and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I’d been thinking about it for weeks, that I’d rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help, but let’s find a really good director and make it with him. So that’s what we’ve agreed will happen.
“It was such an amazing time in my life 30 years ago, and I felt that way on the second film,” he reflects. “With Harold no longer with us, I couldn’t see it.”
Reitman also addressed the wild speculation about the project’s writing and casting (including the possible involvement of original Ghostbuster Bill Murray), which has been brewing over the past four years. “We’d decided not to comment up until now,” he continues. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do.”
Reitman says two scripts have been written for the film: The first was co-penned by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (with help from himself, Ramis and Dan Aykroyd), but when Murray failed to commit (“He never actually said no, but he never said yes”), they started from scratch with a script from Etan Cohen (and “Dan lending a helping hand”) that the “studio is very excited about.”
While he does confirm that the sequel will feature the original Ghostbusters team in “a very minor role,” he’s hesitant to give specifics on the new cast, which will be assembled soon. “I’m not going to say how many Ghostbusters there will be in the new cast, but we are determined to retain the spirit of the original film, and I am pleased that all of this seems to have happened organically,” he says.