Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in a scene from Ghostbusters.
Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in a scene from Ghostbusters. Hopper Stone

Ghostbusters puts the boot into critics of all-female leads

THE new Ghostbusters is getting a lot of flack from fans of the original, most of it focusing on the "all-female'' cast. Even in the press, it has been labelled a chick flick on numerous occasions - something that has angered director Paul Feig.

"We still get called in the press as a chick flick. We are always referred to as the all-female Ghostbusters," Feig told an audience at the Produced By Conference, The Wrap reported.

"It's just an uphill battle and I can't believe we are having to deal with it. There were a bunch of people that were angry that there was a reboot."

Critics have been quick to belittle the casting of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon as the film's lead actors.

Feig directed McCarthy and Wigg in their breakthrough, Oscar-nominated roles in 2011's Bridesmaids.

Another criticism, based on the trailers, has focused on Leslie Jones' character, the African-American member of the squad who is "street smart" while the rest are scientists.

Addressing the controversy, Feig said: "I feel bad that many have taken a bad look at Leslie Jones' character. We originally wrote it for Melissa, and then when we were putting it together we figured Melissa had played a role like that before.

"Leslie is so funny at playing this kind of a character that we put her in there. I am the first to admit, while I am a fighter for women, my record for diversity has not been as good and I take responsibility for that."

Feig also mentioned how one unnamed male producer once gave him some ridiculous "advice'' about the project.

"I had some male producer say, 'Oh boy, get ready. It's going to be tough, you're going to have cat fights'," he recalled.

"And I said, 'Who the f- are you?' It was the most wonderful experience I've had."

A star of the original franchise, Dan Aykroyd, has heaped praise on the film, angering some fans.

The film's producer Ivan Reitman, who directed the original two films, believes movie-goers are also fed up with reboots.

"I think there's way too much talk about gender (when it comes to this film)," he told Mashable.

"I think that many of the people who were complaining were actually lovers of the (original) movie, not haters of women."

 

Kate McKinnon in a scene from the movie Ghostbusters.
Kate McKinnon in a scene from the movie Ghostbusters. Hopper Stone

Reitman had been in talks for another Ghostbusters sequel for several years but the passing of original star Harold Ramis two years ago forced a rethink of the paranormal franchise's reboot for a new generation.

"What's really exciting about Paul's take is that it's not about the gender," he said.

"It's the friendship of four particular characters as they do something extraordinary."

The four stars are real-life friends, which was an essential ingredient for Feig.

"It was important to me to cast actors who were friends in real life because when you do that, you get a level of camaraderie, realness and warmth between them that you don't sometimes get when you put actors together who don't know each other," Feig said.

"It's always been important to me - it's one of the reasons why I think Bridesmaids worked so well.''

Joining Feig's dream team of ghost busters is Australia's own Chris Hemsworth as dim-witted receptionist Kevin.

"We made Kevin into a loveable kind of lunk-head who has gotten by on his looks, but he earnestly wants to be part of the group," Feig said. "It takes him a while to figure things out - Kevin's a little slow on the uptake - but once he gets it, he gets it. Chris turned him into a three-dimensional character."

Ghostbusters opens nationally on Thursday.

Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Chris Hemsworth.

Director: Paul Feig

Reviewer's last word: These four talented women will have their work cut out for them winning over fans of the original movies, but if anyone can do it then Bridesmaids alumni Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy can.

Star Profile: Kate McKinnon

Fact: She is the first openly gay cast member of American comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live.

Best known for: The Venture Bros, Saturday Night Live, Finding Dory.

If you like this movie you'll like these: Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, Independence Day: Resurgence.

Quote: "If you asked me to seriously kiss someone on a screen, I would be very uncomfortable. But I will lick any part of your face."



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