‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Director Says Movie is Dedicated to Harold Ramis in ‘Every Way’

You’ve heard of the Oscars, but have you heard of the Isaacs? The Isaac Awards, in honor of the great Oscar Isaac, are Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s unique spin on the Academy Awards. However, the Isaac Awards are different from the Oscars in that they celebrate the best movies of 2021 that deserve recognition but will not receive that recognition through Oscar nods. The 2022 Isaac Awards feature five categories: Best Performance, Best Scene-Stealer, Best Crowd-Pleasing Moment, Best Action Sequence, and Fan-Favorite Movie. Voting will be open via this form from March 7-20. Winners will be announced on March 24.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife continues the story of the first two Ghostbusters films. While the original cast returns, the crew is missing the iconic Egon Spengler, played by Harold Ramis who died in 2014. In addition to starring in the films, Ramis was also an essential part of the creation as a writer. Even though Ghostbusters: Afterlife was made without Ramis, director Jason Reitman says the movie is “dedicated to him in every way.”

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ features a beautiful tribute to Harold Ramis

Jason reitman says Ghostbusters: Afterlife was dedicated to Harold Ramis.
Harold Ramis | Jeff Schear/Getty Images

The story in Ghostbusters: Afterlife revolves heavily around the character of Spengler. The movie centers around Spengler’s daughter (Carrie Coon) and grandchildren (Finn Wolfhard & McKenna Grace) moving into his old home after his untimely death. Grace’s character discovers her grandfather’s old Ghostbusters weapons and items and begins to develop an interest in the paranormal. Grace herself is even portraying a character who closely resembles Spengler. 

At the end of the film, the original Ghostbusters cast (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson) team up once again to defeat Gozer. During this battle, a ghost of Ramis is created digitally and he teams up with the crew once again. He is given a tearful farewell with his family before departing to the afterlife since his mission is now complete. 

Jason Reitman wanted to dedicate the film to his ‘favorite Ghostbuster’

The legacy of Ghostbusters and Ramis have played an important part in Reitman’s life as well as his dad, Ivan Reitman, directed the first two. In an interview with Empire, Reitman said that he wanted to “honor Harold” and he involved Ramis’ family in the creation of Ramis’ ghost. 

“The first person that ever read the script was my father, and after my father it was the Ramis family,” Reitman told Empire. “It was Harold’s widow, Erica, and daughter Violet, who I grew up knowing – we were both on the set of the original back in ’83. I talked to them about what we wanted to do, how we were going to do it. They came to set, and they viewed visual effects that came to the editing room. They’re the first people to ever actually see the movie. So they were part of this movie from start to finish and I think they were aware of how much I wanted to honour Harold. Egon was my favourite Ghostbuster. This is a Spengler story, and this movie is dedicated to him in every way.”

Reitman wanted audiences to believe Ramis was there

Recreating a character digitally can often look awkward and it can be obvious that the character isn’t even there. Obviously, Ramis didn’t actually appear in ghost form, but the way the cast interacts with him makes it feel like they are with him. It was important to Reitman that audiences believed this. Otherwise, the climax completely falls apart. 

“​​Anyone who enjoys movies has now seen examples of virtual characters that really work and virtual characters that are difficult to look at,” Reitman said. “It’s one thing to see in the middle of a movie, where it kind of comes and goes. It’s another thing if the whole climax of the movie will be decided on whether or not you believe these two people are hugging each other, that a daughter is forgiving her father and saying goodbye to him. And that these Ghostbusters, who have gone through this misunderstanding and been broken apart, get to stand next to each other one more time and bust a ghost.”

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now available to buy or rent on VOD.

Vote for the 2022 Isaac Awards here now through Sunday, March 20.

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