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SYFY WIRE Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters cast and crew remember Harold Ramis, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man during virtual reunion

By Josh Weiss

Josh Gad knew just who to call for his latest episode of Reunited Apart: the cast and crew behind 1984's Ghostbusters. This time around, Gad urged viewers to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative.

While the talent involved — Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore), Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz), and Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett) — was very much stacked, it was still missing one crucial person, the late, great Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler).

"I sure miss him," said director Ivan Reitman, also a part of the virtual reunion. "I keep thinking of him as sort of a brother figure. I ended up working with him about five times, and he's really missed."

"He was an incredible writing collaborator," added Aykroyd, who penned the screenplay with Ramis. "He was not a believer in ghosts ... He was very well educated in myth and mystique, and [he was] such a great writing partner because the references were there in an intelligent way and harnessed for laughter. A brilliant man, a brilliant collaborator. I miss him, too, obviously."

Watch the full reunion below (and keep an eye out for a host of special guests):

Looking back on the '80s-era production, Murray recalled the moment he knew the film was going to be a huge hit.

"Ivan asked us to his house at Thanksgiving and showed us the early cut of the ballroom scene, the first catching [of] Slimer scene ... He showed us [that scene] without all the special effects done in it and ... I remember going back to work on Monday, saying, 'Guys, let's all calm down, it's gonna be really big,'" he explained.

When the discussion turned to the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Reitman admitted that it "was the thing that I was most afraid of while we were shooting." The gonzo concept was in Aykroyd's "original script," but the director remembered thinking at the time, "'I think the audience will go with us all the way, I'm not so sure they're gonna go for that 80-foot marshmallow man.' And, of course, it's everybody's favorite."

"There is something about his face, he's recognizable by his outline, by his silhouette, and you immediately want to embrace him," continued Ivan's son, Jason Reitman.

Jason couldn't be persuaded to give anything up about Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which he directed and co-wrote. He was only willing to touch on the topic of the project (a direct sequel to Ghostbusters II) being delayed to next March as a result of theaters being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

"As a director, I've never had this opportunity to take a pause and breathe and look at the movie again," he said, echoing a statement made by Matt Reeves about The Batman. "It's been extraordinarily valuable, and we have a lot of time now."

Ghostbusters Reunited Apart

The reunion closed out with everyone singing the Ghostbusters theme song along with Ray Parker Jr. Sadly, Rick Moranis (Louis Tully) did not make a surprise appearance as we had hoped, but Gad was able to snag Larry King, who reprised his cameo role from the original film's montage.

Louis Tully did come up, though, when Reitman Sr. talked about how Spaceballs' John Candy originally passed on the role.

"I sent the very first script to John, who didn't really get it," the filmmaker said. "He kept wanting to play him with a German accent with a couple of big German Shepherd dogs. I said, 'I think that would be confusing, given the [Terror] Dogs that are already on the roof. I don't think we can fit more dogs in this movie.' Of course, I knew Rick Moranis from Toronto and just sent him the script and told him what had happened with John. Rick read it and called immediately and said, 'Boy, John just made a terrible mistake, I'm so happy. Thank you, I definitely wanna be in this movie.'"

Based on a short audio teaser at the very end of the Ghostbusters event, Reunited Apart's next installment will center around Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Someone get Abe Froman on the line!