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A god of comedy is no match for a god of death. In a new Vanity Fair article detailing the return of Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore) in Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters: Afterlife, fans can enjoy a beat-for-beat breakdown of how the film's climactic showdown was filmed on a Canadian soundstage two years ago.
***WARNING! THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE FILM!***
According to VF writer Anthony Breznican — who was actually present when the cameras rolled on the OG Ghostbusters — Olivia Wilde (who plays Gozer in this soft reboot) could not keep a straight face when Murray was hurling improvised insults and taunts at the Mesopotamian deity that wants to bring about the end of the world. At one point, the actress reportedly broke out laughing and said: “You got me on that one. Too far. TOO FAR!”
Murray credited the comedic lightning to his in-person reunion with Aykroyd and Hudson. “Danny and Ernie and I together, not in separate scenes, but together — there’s a force," he said on set. "It’s like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have done their solo albums, but when they’re all on the stage, it’s a whole different thing."
“It was really fun to be back,” added Aykroyd, whose character gets a shot at redemption when he tells Gozer that yes, he is indeed a god. “Billy is such fun anywhere he goes. He’s one of those human beings that has that magnetism. You just look at him and you’ll laugh. And him sloping around in that pack, which he doesn’t like wearing any more than any of us, it’s just so funny. To see him just lurking around in that pack and putting up with it. Yeah, it’s been a great week.”
“I’ve done, sheesh, I don’t know, probably 250 credits or something, but working with Bill Murray and seeing him and Danny trying to come up with something, trying to fill the space, and then something really magical comes out of it...that’s unusual,” Hudson said.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now playing in theaters everywhere. The film dominated the North American box office this past weekend (following more than a year of COVID-related delays) with $44 million in ticket sales. Internationally, Afterlife brought in an additional $16 million for a global debut of $60 million. Paul Feig, director and co-writer of the all-female Ghostbusters reboot attempt in 2016, congratulated Reitman and his team on the movie's success.
"Huge congrats to @JasonReitman and the whole #GhostbustersAfterlife cast and crew on this amazing opening weekend," he wrote on Twitter. "The film is brilliant. So exciting to have a whole new generation bustin’! Here’s to many more ecto adventures! #weareallghostbusters."