You heard it here, whiners of the internet. Paul Feig is sipping your haterade like a fine chardonnay.
A modern reprisal of the Ghostbusters franchise has been lurking in the wilds of pre-production for years now, and so any solid announcements on that front would have merited an online freak-out. But add in a gender factor, much less replacing the entire cast with women (awesome women, funny women, fully qualified actresses and comedians), and you've got what Germans refer to as a "shitstorm."
Producer/writer Paul Feig told Variety that he was surprised by the negative reaction, but that he's taking it in a sort of bewildered stride. After all, there's been plenty of positive buzz about the lead cast, comprised of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Leslie Jones.
"The Internet is really funny," he said. "I love it, but I hate it at the same time. The first wave when you make an announcement like that is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone's so happy and you're like, This is great. Then comes the second wave and you're like, Oh my God. Some of the most vile, misogynistic shit I've ever seen in my life."
The weirdest part part of getting nasty things sent his way on Twitter, he finds, is taking a look at the profiles of those who do it. "I figure it's some wacked out teenager. But almost constantly it's someone who's bio says, 'Proud father of two!'And has some high end job. You're raising children and yet you're bashing me about putting women in my movie?"
The biggest film announcement of Monday was Sony Pictures' statement that it would also be producing a male-led Ghostbusters franchise through its newly minted Ghostcorps production company. This dashed the hopes of many who were looking forward to the promise of a woman-led action/comedy franchise represented by Feig's film. With Hollywood's dismal record on supporting female-led action franchises and female-led comedy franchises, the announcement is too easily seen as an attempt by Sony to have its cake and eat it, too. That is, to have the goodwill of having produced one lady-Ghostbusters film, but the leeway of focusing on another set of male actors and characters for an ongoing series.
Feig is not involved with the newly announced project (which will be written and directed by Captain America's Russo brothers), and he was pretty casual about this possible sudden undercut of his adaptation. "Who knew there were so many ghosts to be busted in the world?" he said of Sony's Ghostcorps announcement.
And he's got a message for the folks spouting nonsense on the internet: "The biggest thing I've heard for the last four months is, 'Thanks for ruining my childhood.' [...] It's so dramatic. Honestly, the only way I could ruin your childhood is if I got into a time machine and went back and made you an orphan."
Careful, Mr. Feig! That's some supervillain-type talk there!