There are big things on the way for the Ghostbusters franchise: an animated film as well as a live-action sequel for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. And there’s news on the latter. Deadline reports that Afterlife director Jason Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, will be handing over directing duties to his Afterlife co-writer Gil Kenan for the follow-up to the 2021 film. Reitman will serve as the sequel’s producer and co-writer.
The trade also notes that “insiders add that the Ghostbusters: Afterlife ensemble that includes Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon is on board to return,” with casting now in progress for additional characters, and that the story is unknown, but is said to involve a return to New York City and a certain famous firehouse-turned-HQ.
“A few years ago, my father handed me the keys to Ecto-1 and together we made Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Words will never express how grateful I am to have made a film with my father by my side. It’s now time to hand those keys to my creative partner and fellow Ghostbuster Gil Kenan, a brilliant director who will keep the Spengler spirit alive. I can only hope to provide him the same producorial care and support that my father showed me,” said Reitman per the report.
Kenan, whose previous directorial credits include Monster House and the 2015 Poltergeist remake, added, “It’s an absolute honor to pick up the proton pack and step behind the camera for the next chapter of the Spengler family saga. I just wish I could go back to 1984 and tell the kid in the sixth row of the Mann Valley West that one day he was going to get to direct a Ghostbusters film,”
The lega-sequel of Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters universe felt like a full circle moment and family affair of a picture, with a younger cast, led by McKenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House) as Spengler’s granddaughter, who immediately endeared us to their adventures. The directing change shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise; previously, Jason Reitman told io9, “It was never like any other movie that I’ve directed, and I don’t think it’s like any other experience any other director has ever had.”
Of working closely with his father for the follow-up to 1984 pop culture phenom Ghostbusters, he said, “I was sitting next to my father almost every single day. I’m carrying this movie, momentarily, that doesn’t belong to me. And in many ways, doesn’t even belong to [Ivan] anymore. And that’s kind of a fascinating experience. Normally, when you make a film, for a brief period of time, it belongs to you and then you hand it over and it belongs to the audience. Here is a case where this film never belonged to me. I simply picked up the baton for a moment.” The Ghostbusters franchise includes 1989’s Ghostbusters II, also directed by Ivan Reitman, and 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.
Reitman reflected on his time collaborating with his father, before his passing early in 2022, as the film continued their family’s legacy. “I wanted to make him proud. I wanted to make Ghostbusters fans proud, I wanted to make a film that was for everybody. And that’s a very daunting task.”
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