By Edward Davis | The Playlist January 12, 2011 at 4:58AM
You need to hear that Bill Murray is the hold-out on the long-gestating "Ghostbusters 3" project like you need a hole in the head. While a script was just delivered to the elusive star -- who has no agent or PR person -- the actor has been badmouthing the idea of a third 'Ghostbusters' film for what feels like longer than a year now. He's got his reasons and the biggest question probably is: Why a "Ghostbusters" film now, twenty one years after the fairly mediocre "Ghostbusters II" (which did $126 million less in box-office receipts than the original)?
Well, for one Dan Aykroyd is obsessed, has never let the idea go, and two, he started scheming up a new idea (there's been several false starts on a third "Ghostbusters" script over the years) when he, Harold Ramis, and more importantly Bill Murray, got along during voice work for the "Ghostbusters" video game a few years ago. It appears that moment gave him the inkling that a reunion of sorts was possible and Aykroyd set pen to paper.
And while we know Murray is the missing key ingredient -- all four principal "Ghostbusters," including director Ivan Reitman, can nix the project if they don't approve of the script -- according to Deadline, Sony believes there is absolutely no movie without Murray and will not move the project forward unless he signs on.
Frankly, that's kind of a no brainer and as already articulated, Murray has veto power, even though "Ghostbusters 3" is evidently inching forward towards reality with a $150 million dollar budget, there won't be a green light until Murray actually signs, seals and delivers a contract -- something the mercurial actor never does anymore.
To work with Bill Murray is to take a leap of faith, make a handshake deal and then hope and pray on production start date he will show up (the industry is full of nervewracking tales of Murray having verbally agreed to appear in a film without signing anything and people like Sofia Coppola can attest that she and her "Lost In Translation" crew were shitting bricks on day one hoping he'd show; Wes Anderson is one of the lucky few who doesn't have to live through that anxiety anymore). So a script -- by "The Office" writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, with minor touch-ups by Ramis and Aykroyd -- has been delivered and now its time for all the principals and Sony to sit by the phone and nervously wait (this report makes the rumored May 2011 start date seem plausible). Knowing Murray they could wait weeks to get their answer.
Reitman, who's about to debut his new comedy, "No Strings Attached," recently spoke out against internet reports claiming everything we've read about 'GB3' is wrong, but Murray's public quotes aren't fabricated and the reality is that Deadline's report is spot-on: there is no "Ghostbusters" movie without Bill Murray. Hell, there isn't one without Ramis or Akyroyd either. The idea of a third film is a new generation of "Ghostbusters" who can come in and step into the roles vacated by aging spectral hunters. Frankly, it smells akin to when erstwhile successful sitcoms brought in new cute, adopted family members to help their sagging ratings. Best of luck to all of them -- we actually would love to see a 'GB3' out of morbid curiosity -- but it's hard to imagine a film that could top even the lackluster "Ghostbusters II."