Originally scheduled for release in summer 2020 until the pandemic kiboshed those plans, after constantly being pushed back fans will finally be able to watch the much anticipated Ghostbusters: Afterlife next month in time for Thanksgiving. Before that though, Ghostheads assembled for the Ghostbusters: Afterlife panel at NYCC.

Moderated by Entertainment Weekly senior writer Clark Collis, the panel consisted of co-screenwriter Gil Kenan, director & co-screenwriter Jason Reitman and his father Ivan Reitman (producer of Afterlife and director of the original 1984 Ghostbusters) plus the cast consisting of Carrie Coon (Callie), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), McKenna Grace (Phoebe), Logan Kim (Podcast), and Celeste O’Connor (Lucky).

As the son of the original Ghostbusters director, Jason Reitman said that he had always been asked if he would make a Ghostbusters movie and joked that it seemed inevitable. The younger Reitman revealed that the image of a 12-year old girl picking up a proton pack in field and a teenager driving the Ecto-1 had been running around in his mind for the longest time but he couldn’t quite figure out the story behind it. However, it was after Harold Ramis passed away, he knew immediately that these kids were part of the Spengler family.

Although Kenan may not have Ghostbusters in his blood like Reitman, the original 1984 film holds a special place for him since it was was the first Hollywood movie he saw when his family moved to the states and he was hooked. He’s been friends with Jason Reitman for years and recalled a conversation where they discussed picking up destiny, in this case the destiny of ghostbusting. Kenan called it an incredible privilege to be part of this legacy.

Coon, who plays the mother of Phoebe and Trevor and Egon’s daughter, was offered the role directly by Jason Reitman. She described how innovative the original was, specifically the genre-blending of horror, comedy, and action. She was already a fan of Ghostbusters and the younger Reitman and said “Yes” immediately.

Wolfhard remembered the secretive nature of auditioning process and was simply told it was about a family inheriting a farm. Reitman joked it sounded like his previous films. When Wolfhard found out he was auditioning for the new Ghostbusters, he wasn’t sure he would get the part since on the series he’s best known for, Stranger Things, they had previously heavily referenced Ghostbusters in the second season.

Grace meanwhile, couldn’t help but hold back tears and was overwhelmed by attending her first NYCC to promote a movie that means so much to her. While Phoebe is the shy awkward girl of the film, the character of Podcast played by Logan Kim is the complete opposite. Podcast was described as an extroverted loudmouth and Kim perfectly embodied the character by exuding total confidence on set despite Ghostbusters: Afterlife being his first film.

O’Connor plays Lucky, the Summerville native who is frustrated with the small towntown. O’Connor related a story how their audition tape was due the same day as their school exam and so rushed the tape to put all their efforts into the exam. If they knew they were auditioning for Ghostbusters they admitted that they would have put more effort into it. Guess it worked out O’Connor got the part.

The filmmakers placed importance on practical effects as possible. For instance, the crew planted an actual barley field for the Ecto-1 to drive through.

Collis naturally had to inquire about father/son dynamic for the Reitmans. Jason Reitman conceded the immense intimidation but Ivan countered that he felt it was brave for his son to be the captain of this enterprise. There weren’t as many fights as people would imagine.

Ghostbusters Afterlife panel

Grace saw it for the first time this week and couldn’t help but be shocked by how much the cast has changed in the two years since they filmed Ghostbusters: Afterlife in Calgary. Unsurprisingly, the cast and crew played it very coy regarding the film’s details but Jason Reitman did tease his goal was to make a film that opened up possible future films by other directors.

The last time Jason Reitman was at NYCC was over ten years ago to promote Jennifer’s Body so it felt like coming full circle to attend a Ghostbusters: Afterlife panel. The young Reitman said he loves streaming as much as the next guy but said he LOVES movies. His goal was to make a movie like you could experience like the original movie in 1984. He praised the fans for their immense praise due to the aforementioned delays.

To wit, Reitman surprised the full panel of diehard fans that they would be screening the full movie just for NYCC. After a quick selfie, the cast/crew left the stage and fans took in the surprise screening. Keep your eyes peeled for a review from The Beat‘s entertainment reviewers closer to release.

 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife arrives in theaters on November 19, 2021.

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