This past Sunday, Variety reported that there might be a female-led "Ghostbusters" reboot, supposedly, which would possibly be directed by Paul Feig. The reaction to this rumor was mixed, to say the least. After sorting through the outrage, HuffPost Entertainment sat down to discuss the implications of the lady version that is not definitely being made.
Lauren: I don't even know where to begin with this latest rumor in almost two decades of "Ghostbusters 3" fan fiction. I will say that I'm a Paul Feig fan. He's a feminist, and not the mansplaining kind, but one who really believes that a lady ensemble can be just as funny as a bunch of men (see: "Bridesmaids," this Daily Beast interview). But the idea of a "Ghostbusters" reboot comes with some other issues. To start, what are your thoughts on a female-led version as "gimmicky"?
Lily: I don't understand that line of reasoning at all. First, it's not like the mega-popular "Ghostbusters" franchise needs a "gimmick" to get people to come see it in theaters. Second, it's pretty ludicrous and offensive to suggest that rebooting a popular film with women characters would create some kind of watered-down publicity stunt. Like ... why? There is nothing about the description "three scientists who fight ghosts" that would make casting women in the roles in any way unrealistic. Scientists come in all genders, and so too, I believe, could ghost fighters.
Lauren: I agree with that. And while I am generally anti-reboot, I will say that if Sony is making it happen regardless, Feig is the kind of director who would bring unique perspective, rather than just doing the original with more special effects and vaginas. Although, there's something about so blatantly doing a "woman version" that feels kind of reductive, i.e. the fact that we even need to think of things as "women versions" in the first place ...
Lily: Yeah, I agree that we don't need to think of it as a "women version." It would just be a "Ghostbusters" reboot, but with women!
Lauren: Which brings us to Mike Fleming's cringeworthy Deadline piece discussing the subject. He laments the possibility of a female-led reboot based on the premise that it would be taking ownership of the franchise away from dude fans. The idea that someone could bemoan a rewriting of "guy movies" is absurd in a realm where female-led films are considered part of a niche market. That kind of preciousness is infuriating and also makes zero sense.
Lily: Yes, I'm with you on that. The piece suggests a female-led reboot would turn the original construct on its head because a lot of "great comedy ensued" from the dynamic between the "disreputable misogynistic womanizer" that leads the "Ghostbusters" gang, and other (particularly female) characters in the movie. I would not really agree with that statement because I generally don't find jokes with "haha, he's a womanizer" as the punchline very funny. Hopefully, even an all-male reboot would leave that particular aspect of the film in the past (2014, let's do this!). The piece's line of reasoning also taps into another problematic notion that Margaret Lyons just discussed at Vulture. As she noted (in the context of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") there is a super problematic "pervasive perception that stories about women are mostly for women, whereas stories about men are for everyone." Men and women both watched the original "Ghostbusters" even though it starred men. The new "Ghostbusters" -- if starring women -- would not be "FOR WOMEN ONLY," or any less for men at all. It would be for everyone!
Lauren: Amen, Margaret! I think what it comes down to is this: If the reboot is going to happen: great, do it with ladies! But that leaves us to a discussion of Hollywood's lack of original ideas. Why can we not just let this beloved movie or any beloved movie lie? Why do they have to come back ... AS GHOSTS?
Lily: Ha, yes. I think that another whole conversation could be had on Hollywood's reluctance to make original films as of late instead of just reboots of franchises that have already been proven successful. But, if Hollywood IS going to cling to revamping old movies, which historically have not starred women in leading roles (especially if romance does not primarily drive the plot), I'd like to see some gender diversity so we don't keep perpetuating that disparity in the name of "upholding tradition."
Lauren: Exactly. But if the choice is Paul Feig makes "Ghostbusters" reboot or Paul Feig makes literally any other lady ensemble that is not a reboot, I will take that second choice, thanks.
Lily: And while we're really dreaming, I'd love to see some more female actor-led films with female writers and directors at the helm, as well. I find it troubling that studios are only comfortable with female-driven vehicles like "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat" if there's a white, male director at the head of the project, lending it some kind of "legitimacy." Sigh.
Lauren: Yes. What we need are more female stars, more female writers, and more female directors given the opportunity to make original, big-budget projects. And what we don't need are any more "Ghostbusters," lady-led or otherwise.