‘Ghostbusters’ Goes Meta, Paul Feig Reveals Lifelong Love Of Comedy, And Critics Cry For More Prominent Women Roles

Paul Feig, director of the upcoming Ghostbusters remake, has always loved comedy, according to Detroit News.

“Comedy has been my thing since I was a kid and I’ve just always loved to laugh and loved to make people laugh,” Feig said. “Comedy is the only thing I’ve ever really cared about.”

Looks like life imitating art; Ghostbusters is yet another comedic foray for the director, who is also known for comedies like Bridesmaids, which effectively put Ghostbusters star Melissa McCarthy on the map as a heavy Hollywood hitter. McCarthy reunites with Bridesmaids co-star Kristen Wiig in the remake of the 1984 classic.

Unfortunately, the course has not always gone smooth for this current iteration of Ghostbusters. When news that this Ghostbusters version would feature an all-female cast, social media and YouTube lit up with a spooky amount of haters. For those who appreciate a healthy dose of irony, Feig integrated those haters into the Ghostbusters script, a move which McCarthy and Wiig embraced easily, according to Pedestrian.

“I feel like the part was in already, but we changed what was said,” Wiig said of the Ghostbusters script tweak, though the sudden script change was very much in keeping with the freestyle mode in which Paul Feig seems to write his scripts.

“We did something on the day that slightly tweaked it,” McCarthy added.

Of the hateful furor that erupted online, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that Kerri Yost, associate professor of film at Stephens College in Columbia and founder of the Citizen Jane Film Festival, noted the backlash to the all-female cast was not a huge surprise.

“Any time there’s something that’s predominantly and obviously female-driven, there’s a backlash,” she said, and compared it to the sexist attitudes that women encounter in the video game culture.

However, there have also been female-led flicks that have garnered box office success, such as Lucy with Scarlett Johansson in the lead role, and Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in the Alien series. Yost expressed some hope that there will be some gender-neutral roles in the future, where men and women can effectively be interchangeable.

“Cinema doesn’t reflect the world we live in — it just doesn’t,” she said. “So if the role doesn’t have to be gender-specific, why not? A lot of women grow up thinking, ‘Why can’t I be James Bond? Why can’t I be the boy in ‘E.T.’? And I think we’re going to see more of those films being made.”

As for Feig, he was puzzled that there was so much rampant sexism when it came to the new Ghostbusters movie.

“We still get called, in the press, a ‘chick-flick’ and we are never not referred to as the ‘all-female Ghostbusters,’ which makes me crazy,” he said recently.

There has been an outcry regarding the character Leslie Jones plays in the new Ghostbusters flick as well. She is the only minority, and the only non-scientist of the group. Feig acknowledged that his record regarding the inclusion of minorities in his movies has not been good.

“I am the first to admit, while I am a fighter for women, my record for diversity has not been as good, and I take responsibility for that,” he said.

Feig admitted that he was surprised that there was such a vocal backlash about the all-female cast of his version of Ghostbusters.

“I thought people would be excited for another Ghostbusters because so many people are positive about the franchise,” he said.

Not only that, there has been the suspicion that fans are disappointed because Bill Murray, who played Peter Venkman in the 1984 version of Ghostbusters and has long been sought to take on the parapsychologist role again, declined the opportunity to take on a role in the 2016 Ghostbusters. Regardless, Sean Griffin, professor in the division of film and media arts at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and co-author of the book America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies, cautions against stereotypes for either gender.

“I do find it interesting that the woman who directed Zero Dark Thirty [Kathryn Bigelow] was the first woman to win an Oscar for best director (for the 2008 war drama, The Hurt Locker) — and had to show that she could do a very masculine movie,” Griffin said. “Because that’s deemed more important than doing a rom-com.”

The new Ghostbusters bows in theaters July 15, 2016.

(Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Lyft)