Ghostbusters: Dan Aykroyd Talks Jason Reitman, Honoring Harold Ramis

For Dan Aykroyd, poignant doesn't begin to describe the sense of loss of the late Harold Ramis when working on the set of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Ramis, who died in 2014, created, starred and wrote Ghostbusters with Aykroyd in 1984. The actor, who got his start on NBC's Saturday Night Live, spoke to Entertainment Weekly while promoting his Travel Channel series Hotel Paranormal about how Afterlife will honor Ramis and director Jason Reitman as the new torchbearer for the franchise. "To have that formation without that man standing right there on the line with us was a pretty serious adjustment," Aykroyd said. "He will be very well represented in the new film, I can tell you that. He's very honorably represented."

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Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis in Ghostbusters. Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

Aykroyd plays Ray Stantz, who along with Egon Spengler (Ramis) and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) start a paranormal control company called Ghostbusters where they capture specters who terrorize the living around New York City. They hire Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) as a secretary and a fourth member of the team Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). Returning with the aforementioned surviving cast is Sigourney Weaver, who reprises her role as Venkman's love interest Dana Barrett. Jason's father Ivan Reitman directed the 1984 original and its 1989 sequel. "[Jason]'s passing the DNA of the first two movies directly to the new generation," Aykroyd said. "It's just a lot of fun to see these terrific young actors slinging the old Cadillac around and having the equipment in their hands. The story that develops from that is scary and funny and heartfelt and also funny. And it feeds into the possibility of more follow-ups with this group and with others who want to join."

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Dan Aykroyd
Photo by s_bukley /

In 2016, there was a reboot with an all-female team directed by Paul Feig of the same name but released on the home market as Ghostbusters: Answer the Call to avoid confusion with the 1984 film. Those who return for Afterlife made cameos as original characters. "Everyone can be a Ghostbuster, just start out by studying science and physics," Aykroyd continued. "Every county in the United States has a paranormal society, and I don't think before Ghostbusters that was true. No one back then knew what ectoplasm was, before Ghostbusters. We introduced that term to millions of people around the world where it was just a standard part of the vernacular in the research, which my family has been into for generations. We turned it into a joke [in the film], and I think that's ok with everyone on the other side. [laughs]" Hotel Paranormal premieres on July 11th on the Travel Channel.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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