What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Ghostbusters universe? Slime? Ecto-1? A very young Bill Murray? It could be any of the above but it should be the name Reitman: the beloved 1984 film belongs to Ivan Reitman, and Afterlife is the passion project of none other than his son, Jason Reitman. It’s an unusual and somewhat daunting concept, to resurrect such an iconic franchise while keeping it in the family – and the high stakes and immense pressure of it all isn’t lost on father nor son.
Empire brings both Reitmans together in the new issue, talking to both father and son an in exclusive new interview and retro Ghostbusters photoshoot. The pair talk about their meaningful, deeply emotional experience making the new film together (Jason directing, Ivan producing), Ivan describes just how powerful those first conversations were in getting the idea for the film off the ground. “It just took my breath away,” he says of hearing Jason’s pitch for a new story. “I literally cried; I even cry right now when I start to think about it. It was a very emotional experience.”
Jason, too, is keenly aware of how similar he is to his dad – and how that led to some of the most lively arguments on set. “It’s hard because we’re having this kind of meaningful father-son experience together on set but, simultaneously, both of us are stubborn, creative forces, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not, both deeply passionate about getting this right,” he says.
He describes the experience as “navigating the shadow of [your] parents”, something the filmmaker thinks anybody can relate to “no matter what your parents do, or who they are – that is the journey of being a child.” Although the Reitmans’ journey is a little slimier and spookier than most, it seems.
Read Empire’s full Ghostbusters: Afterlife story in the Ghostbusters Celebration issue – on newsstands from Thursday 30 September, and available to pre-order online here. Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be released in UK cinemas on 19 November.