Melissa McCarthy was always going to be one of the four Ghostbusters in the new reboot, but apparently the original plan had her in a different role—the one that ended up going to fellow specter fighter Leslie Jones.
The movie’s director, Paul Feig, went through this week’s new international trailer for the film, and answered Empire‘s questions about his goals for the movie, the inspiration behind certain decisions, and also how McCarthy was originally pegged for the part that ended up going to Saturday Night Live‘s Jones.
McCarthy is playing Abby Yates, who Feig described as, “a fringe scientist who’s studying things that regular science doesn’t necessarily think is legitimate.” However, Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold had McCarthy in mind for New York City subway worker Patty Tolan, who joins the team to offer her street-smart knowledge of the real New York.
“But then I thought I’ve seen Melissa play a brash, larger than life character. She’s done it in my movies before!” said Feig. That’s when he decided to cast Jones, who Feig said he is a big fan of from her work on SNL.
The casting of three white scientists and one African American non-scientist is the exact same set-up from the original films, and some people have not been happy with that arrangement—a controversy Feig is well-aware of, as is Jones, who has been defending herself from attacks on Twitter.
Now, I’ve been reluctant to talk about this movie as a white guy because I’m embarrassed by the stupid “controversy” that has arisen from having female Ghostbusters, but I have to say I had this exact same thought watching the trailer. “They should have flipped Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy.”
I love (LOVE) Leslie Jones; I think she is one of the most unique and funniest voices on TV. It’s just that nothing happens in a vacuum, and from the first trailer I knew this would be a “thing.” I’m not sure it’s wrong to acknowledge that it doesn’t come across great that, again, the “brilliant scientists” are all white, but I also think Jones is right in asking what’s wrong with being a subway worker.
Because there’s nothing wrong with it, but that doesn’t mean perception and the baggage of modern cinema won’t become a talking point that has nothing to do with the quality of the film itself.
The truth is, even though Feig’s thought process for McCarthy makes a ton of sense, I would have loved to see them flipped because it just seems like that role was written for McCarthy (oh, wait, it was). None of this will matter if they are both great in their roles and the movie is great, but it’s a shame we can’t talk about any of this reasonably because a loud, vocal minority of people are upset the movie even exists in the first place. They aren’t deleting all traces of the original Ghostbusters because this was made—so how can any of us have an opinion when none of us have seen it?
As for what else Feig had to say, definitely check out the rest of the interview, because he covered a lot of other theories about what’s going to happen, how the movie was made, and plenty of insight into other characters from the movie.
What do you think? Based on what you’ve seen would you have preferred McCarthy in the Jones role? Let’s be the place on the internet that can discuss the movie as a movie, free of the silly crap that has become far too much of a problem thus far.
Images: Columbia Pictures