Jason Reitman Wants to Scare Children with Ghostbusters 3

With his Ghostbusters sequel centered around a 12-year-old girl (Mckenna Grace), writer-director Jason Reitman jokes he hopes to “scare children.”

“I do [want this to be a scary movie]. That’s one of my favorite things about the original, and one of my favorite things about movies of that time in the ‘80s, that a movie could be really funny and really scary,” Reitman said at Ghostbusters Fan Fest. “Particularly for young people, scaring young people. I want to scare children, I think that’s where I’m heading to.”

Reitman aims to borrow from father Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, which the younger Reitman admits “scared the living crap out of me.”

“That’s actually the thing that I remember most, I remember how scary it was, and being terrified of Terror Dogs,” Reitman said. “And it felt magical.”

But it was another spook, not the demonic hellhounds in service of the evil Gozer, who won the approval of esteemed director Steven Spielberg.

“I’m just gonna name drop for a moment. I was at something at the Director’s Guild recently and I was sitting next to Steven Spielberg — you know, my buddy,” Reitman quipped, “and I said, ‘You know, I’m gonna direct the next Ghostbusters movie.’ And he just said, ‘Library Ghost. Top ten scares of all time.’”

The anecdote made the elder Reitman, sat nearby, visibly proud.

“Growing up as a kid, I was really probably as a big a scary movie, horror movie fan as I was comedy. And it was always my dream to do some kind of combo platter of both of those loves,” Ivan Reitman said of his original blockbuster that starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis.

“Just after Animal House, John Landis and I were talking about doing some kind of larger film. And it never got off the ground. When Dan Aykroyd came to me with this treatment he had written for he and John Belushi long before, I thought, ‘Oh, there’s an opportunity here for the kind of movie I always wanted to make.’”

The original treatment turned in by Aykroyd, who shares screenplay credit with Ramis, was “really quite spectacular,” Reitman said.

“It had all kinds of ghosts, it took place in outer space, it took place in the future, there were multiple groups of Ghostbusters that were competing with each other — but in the middle of it was this really beautiful idea that a bunch of guys, working much like firemen, actually caught ghosts, and were creating this wonderful service for doing that. And I read it and I thought immediately, ‘Well, this really should take place today, and it really should take place in a city that we recognize.’”

For his film — which stars Grace, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and Carrie Coon (Avengers: Infinity War) as a small town family confronted with the paranormal — Reitman could only tease story details.

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“I’m not gonna give anything away today, but I will say it’s a new movie,” Reitman said. “This is a new movie about a new set of characters, it takes place in a new place, a new location.”

Ghostbusters 3 opens July 10, 2020.