Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a warm-hearted family story and a "real love letter to the franchise," says star Carrie Coon, who plays single mother Callie in Jason Reitman's sequel to father Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. Taking place more than 30 years after Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) saved New York City from ghouls, Afterlife relocates to the sleepy Summerville, Oklahoma, where Callie and her children — gearhead son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and science-whiz Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) — come to discover the dusted secrets of Callie's father: late co-founding Ghostbuster Egon.
"It's really a family story. It's still very funny and I just feel like it's very warm in a way that we, perhaps, need right now," Coon told IndieWire. "It's a real balm for the soul. I think that will actually surprise people. I think it's for everyone. People will be grateful for the escape that it's going to offer from the world."
The 1984 original, scripted by Aykroyd and Ramis, was "really innovative," added Coon. "I don't think anybody had seen anything quite like it before. It sort of launched a genre; there's this comic sci-fi genre. Really, it was one of the first of its kind. Now we've had so many of those films." With Afterlife, the younger Reitman has crafted a "real love letter to the franchise."
When confirming his involvement, returning star Murray said it's the loss of Ramis' Egon that fuels Afterlife. Its script, penned by Reitman and Monster House's Gil Kenan, has "lots of emotion in it." As he told Vanity Fair: "It's got lots of family in it, with through lines that are really interesting. It's gonna work."
At Ghostbusters Fan Fest in June, the Juno filmmaker admitted he was "intimidated" making a long-awaited sequel to his father's original pair of films. Reitman then said Afterlife is a love letter to his father as much as it was crafted for the franchise's fans. Reitman unearthed unused footage from the 1984 original and put together a team of consultants who worked on the first Ghostbusters to realize what is canonically the franchise's third film.
"I feel like part of making what we call GB20, the next one, is a form of archeology. It is oddly in many ways an archaeological film," Reitman said. "And we are kind of looking through the past — and I've been asking myself all the time — 'What is it that makes it a Ghostbusters movie? What makes a Ghostbusters ghost a Ghostbusters ghost?' So getting to see this original footage has been extraordinary. It's been like finding the hidden opening to a pyramid."
Reitman confessed he was "just terrified of the idea of making a Ghostbusters movie, adding, "It was a very intimidating thing. My father is the greatest storyteller I know and made movies that defined my childhood ... so the idea of being a director myself was a very scary decision."
Also starring Celeste O'Connor, Logan Kim, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, and Paul Rudd, Ghostbusters: Afterlife opens July 10.