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Why I, as a woman, hate the idea of a female-centric Ghostbusters cast

Let’s be honest: From The Goonies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hollywood is all about the reboot these days. With no shortage of male-centered story lines being resurrected, it should be refreshing to hear that Ivan Reitman has an all-female cast in mind for Ghostbusters 3. But it’s not refreshing, it’s frustrating.

Bill Murray attends the ''New Worlds: The Cradle Of Civilization'' photocall during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 16, 2021 in Cannes, France.
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Oh, so very frustrating.

As a feminist and a storyteller, I’m all about female-centric story lines. I get excited every time a new film comes out with strong female leads, and I love when those female leads get to kick a little ass on their way to total box office domination.

But please don’t try to tell me that putting a female cast at the center of the Ghostbusters reboot is feminism in action. Dan Aykroyd has been angling for a franchise revival since 2012, but costar and Ghostbusters fan-favorite Bill Murray has refused to sign on. With Harold Ramis’ passing this past February, that’s two of the film’s iconic cast made unavailable — a female-driven plot feels like a desperate attempt to jump-start a project that wants to keep its dignity safe in the nostalgic past, not a creative bid for pro-women-in-Hollywood glory.

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It doesn’t require a lot of imagination to picture how quickly the ill-fitting brown jumpsuits our frumpy 1980s heroes wore would be morphed into sexy brown jumpsuits for a 2015 cast of fit heroines. I’m sure they’d come complete with fitted waistlines and low-cut collars for all those slime-catching cleavage shots certain to be included.

And let’s not even mention the fireman’s pole.

The only hope in all of this hubbub is that Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) is rumored to be in talks to direct.

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As Ivan Reitman told the Toronto Sun, “We’ve never thought about it personally as Ghostbusters 3, just a new kind of Ghostbusters. And I think Paul’s an appropriate director for what we’re talking about.”

But unless Egon comes back from the dead to tell his “niece” that she needs to break into the impound station where all of the ghostbusting equipment (dusty, ill-fitting jumpsuits included) has been stored to defend New York from a big bad bogeyman from beyond, I’m having a hard time imagining a scenario in which anyone other than Ramis, Murray, Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson would be able to sell me a ticket.

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Because I don’t want to see a “new kind of Ghostbusters” — I’m already in love with the old ones. And while I could get excited to find out what happened to the film’s original spectral cowboys, I’m not excited for a reboot which aims to retell what is already a masterfully fun, spooky, and beloved story… only this time told with women.

Come on, Hollywood. There have to be more original female-centered screenplays out there. Find those scripts. Make more original films featuring female leads. Show us women playing roles we haven’t seen before instead of dressing them in the dusty hand-me-downs of a bygone era.

Then I’ll buy a ticket.

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