Could Sony Re-Cast Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters 3?

Dan Aykroyd hints that a new actor could play Peter Venkman in the threequel if Bill Murray declines opportunity to return.

Dan Aykroyd took part in an online webchat with Empire earlier today and unsurprisingly the subject of the proposed Ghostbusters 3 came up pretty quickly. As we've said a bunch of times, the status of Ghostbusters 3 is this; Sony have a script they are keen on from HBO's The Office writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg and want to move forward with a third movie but only if franchise lead Bill Murray returns for a supporting role as Peter Venkman. The problem? Bill Murray is not interested and even when it looked like everything was coming together this past summer and the project looked it might just go ahead, he instead went off to spend months shooting Roger Michell's Hyde Park on Hudson instead. So as of right now, until Murray says "yes, I will do that as my next picture", Ghostbusters 3 is in a flux. Speaking to Empire, Aykroyd for the first time today hinted that Bill Murray's character Peter Venkman could well end up being played by a different actor altogether; "We communicate frequently and his position on the involvement in 'Ghostbusters 3' has been made clear and I respect that," said Aykroyd of Murry, who then (although they don't have direct quotes) said they may do a 'Jack Ryan' style re-casting. i.e. when Alec Baldwin became Harrison Ford or like what happens with the James Bond series. This idea I can't help but feel is a little difficult because; a) Who the hell do you get to step into Bill Murray's shoes as an older Peter Venkman? It just wouldn't work! b) Wouldn't it just be easier to write out Venkman's character and say he is dead or just plain awol? Isn't that easier than re-casting? c) Sony have been adamant that they won't do the project without Bill Murray and it always looked like they would go ahead with the full reboot (with Aykroyd & crew's blessing as no movie can be made with their saying so) which didn't involve any of the original cast and would feature fully younger actors than they would go ahead with the film with the original cast without Murray. Meanwhile, speaking about the possibility of Rick Moranis making a potential return as Louis Tully, Ayrkroyd was much more positive despite the fact the actor has been retired from films for 15 years; "If we can get the script to 'Ghostbusters 3' right, then it would definitely have Moranis as a major component," Aykroyd explains. "None of us would want to do the movie without having him as a participant." Moranis ended Ghostbusters 2 as a fully fledged member of the Ghostbusters team. Of course everything could change on Ghostbusters 3 very quickly. Bill Murray has a clean schedule for 2012. If he was to say 'yes' to this project tomorrow, then it could be a go project very quickly as everyone, including director Harold Ramis, all have clean slates.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.