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Jason Reitman ain't afraid of no Hasbro PulseCon. Appearing at the virtual toy event, Saturday, the filmmaker teased out his next feature — Ghostbusters: Afterlife. In particular, he made a special appearance from a warehouse to show off the project's screen-used version of Ecto-1, promising that the iconic vehicle (a retrofitted ambulance from the late 1950s) still has a few surprises left in her.
"When Gil Kenan and I started writing Ghosterbusters: Afterlife, [it] was originally called 'Rust City,' hence the [beat-up condition of Ecto-1]," said Reitman, who is the son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman. "One of the things we were most excited about was getting back into Ecto-1. Of course, when it came time to making the movie, that was a lot trickier. In 1959, when they made this exact model ... they only made 100 of them, and we actually have three of them now."
To be as accurate as possible, the director and his crew "were literally going frame-by-frame from the original '84 film and looking for all kinds of details," Reitman added. "We got the original car out, we scanned the license plate, so we could replicate it perfectly. You'll notice there are a few differences."
One of those differences is the ladder being moved to the opposite side of the car to make room for the gunner seat glimpsed in the first trailer. "It's really cool," Reitman continued. "There's a lot of cool things, a lot of surprises you still don't know about this car. And it was so much fun to shoot because we put a crazy new engine in it and we have it doing things that you'd never believe Ecto-1 could do."
The film, which serves as a direct sequel to 1989's Ghostbusters II, will reunite most of the original actors from the first two movies: Bill Murray ("Peter Venkman"), Dan Aykroyd ("Raymond Stantz"), Sigourney Weaver ("Dana Barrett"), Annie Potts ("Janine Melnitz"), and Ernie Hudson ("Winston Zeddemore"). Harold Ramis ("Egon Spangler") sadly passed away in 2014, while Rick Moranis ("Louis Tully") is not expected to come back, despite his long-awaited return to acting in Disney's Shrunk.
"I was really, really excited, probably because for years fans have been asking me as if I know anything," Hudson said while answering PulseCon fan questions. "[They were asking] when I was gonna make the new movie, and I never had an answer. When I heard about Afterlife and that it was happening, I was really excited that Jason Reitman was producing and directing, because he's such a part of that whole experience. I was very excited, and I'm still very excited about it."
The actor also revealed a fun fact about Winston's lack of facial hair in the first sequel film.
"I'm an actor, so I do whatever's necessary for whatever role I'm playing at the time. At that time, I just didn't have a mustache. In fact, I was thinking about shaving my head, so Winston almost had a bald head. When we got ready to shoot the movie, I had no mustache, [and] it wasn't anything planned, but fans have come up with all kinds of theories as to why I didn't have a mustache. But there was nothing to it, other than I just didn't have one when we started the movie."
Afterlife also features Carrie Coon as Callie, the single mother of Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), who are heavily implied to be Egon's grandchildren. When the family moves to the grandfather's secluded farm in Oklahoma, they soon discover ghost-hunting tech like proton packs, and Ecto-1, and slimming jumpsuits. When restless spirits threaten to destroy the world (again), the kids team up with seismologist Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd) to save the day. Thanks to the New York Toy Fair in February, fans got to see the design of a new and hungry poltergeist known as "Muncher."
Bokeem Woodbine (In the Shadow of the Moon) and Oliver Cooper (Project X) co-star.
Originally supposed to debut this past summer, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now slated to arrive in theaters March 5, 2021.