Bustin’ makes Dan Aykroyd feel good, no matter whether men or women are wearing the proton packs.
The co-creator and co-star of “Ghostbusters” is anything but haunted by the fact that the iconic franchise will be stewarded by a new generation of supernatural investigators, with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon starring in director Pau Feig’s reboot. In fact, he’s downright giddy.
An executive producer of the Sony Pictures reboot — “meaning I’m a cheerleader” – who’s seen the script, Akyroyd shared his thoughts about the project with SPINOFF at the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award ceremony honoring his longtime friend and colleague Steve Martin.
Spinoff Online: One of your greatest creations, “Ghostbusters,” is being so buzzed about with the new, all-female incarnation on the way.
Dan Aykroyd: Yeah, it’s going to be hot! The new one’s going to be big! The interplay, and with each of them, their individual voices are so well defined. They’re just such different characters, and there’s a friction. There’s a dynamic there. I’m not going to spoil it for people, but it’s going to be big, big!
Is there a second revival coming as well, with a group of fellas?
The thing is, you’ve got creators all around Hollywood who saw the thing at the original time and are going, ‘Wow, I think I’ve got a take on that. I think I could do something under that umbrella.” And so we’ve had brilliant creators walk in, from Paul Feig to many others. And we loved the concepts they’re coming up with. And this one with the four girls is going to be massive. Oh, man, it’s funny. It’s intelligent. It hits the right notes, and I’m really excited about it.
It refers to the first two in a really neat, classy way, but this is all going to introduce them to a whole new generation of girls that are going to want to be Ghostbusters. We always needed them.
Will we see Ray Stanz in this one?
That’s up to the director. If asked, I will show up and be of service. If not, it’s totally fine with me. I leave powerful talent like that alone to do their thing.
What does it mean to create something that’s had such a great shelf life?
Well, of course, it’s gratifying and satisfying, but we don’t do that alone. I mean, I think you’ve got to turn to Bill Murray and say, “Hey, man, thank you for 50 percent of the success of that franchise.” It was Murray who wrote and defined that relationship with Sigourney [Weaver]. It was just wonderful work with all those people.
You’re paying tribute to your fellow “Wild and Crazy Guy” Steve Martin, who you go way back with, to the early days of “Saturday Night Live,” when you are were defining the comedic voice of a generation. Tell me about those first encounters with Steve.
Well, we had different styles and different pursuits in comedy, and Steve was so generous because he was so adaptive. And that’s what was really wonderful at “SNL” was he adapted. And he opened up to us all and really became a founding member of the show. So I was always struck, of course, by his intelligence and his graciousness, his generosity. He’s just a sweet guy. He’s a total mensch and was an honor to build those characters — the Wild and Crazy Guys” — and then a joy every day going to work on the set of “Bilco” with Phil Hartman, who we loved.
Take me back to those late-‘70s concerts at the Universal Amphitheatre, where Steve was a bona fide standup-comedy rock star. And you and John Belushi got to open for him as the Blues Brothers, and the recording that was turned into your first hit album, which led to the first film.
I have the career today, as Elwood Blues, thanks to Steve Martin. I would not be still doing concerts 30 years later with John’s brother Jim. We do them all over the world. We have a big concert business. We sell records. I owe Steve a living, because he didn’t need us to sell tickets. He said, “Why don’t you guys come and open for me?” So generous. Steve is a founding father of the Blues Brothers, and I have him to thank today for a lifetime of playing with great musicians and getting those two movies made.