GHOSTBUSTERS 3 Won't Happen Without Bill Murray

Privately pose Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis the question as to why the two decades that have passed since the release of Ghostbusters II has not yet produced a third film in the franchise and they'll give you the same, simple answer - Bill Murray. The 60 year old actor, possibly the last of a dying generation of thesps who are still in-demand despite not having a full time agent or publicist - has forever been the one to shun a third film, never really sounding like he wanted to put the proton pack back on his shoulders ever again and toast some ghosts. At least not for a film, anyway. Deadline's Mike Fleming reported yesterday that Sony Pictures and director Ivan Reitman have absolutely no idea where the actor currently stands in regards to their newest attempts to make the Ghostbusters series a trilogy, and although they sent him The Office scribes Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg's screenplay recently for a proposed third film with high hopes... nobody quite knows for sure how Murray will react to it. Why the resistance from Murray, for what surely is the biggest financial offer that could be made to him right now? Well, over the years, Murray's usually cited his dislike of the time he spent making Ghostbusters 2 (feeling the movie had a weak script & concept, and that he had grown tired of playing Peter Venkman, as the reasons why he wouldn't come back) and I guess from the outside looking in, the script for GB 3 will have to be something particularly special to convince the actor of anything otherwise. The worrying thing for Sony, who must by now have spent a considerable amount of time and energy on getting this one to work - is if Murray says no, because then Sony are adamant the project is dead and won't happen. And that is of course the kind of power that allows Bill Murray to be Bill Murray and take as long as he likes over opening a fedex parcel from Sony.
"The studio won't even think about forward on a $150 million film unless Bill has a closed deal and a commitment," said an insider. "It's too huge a risk to do any meaningful prep, hoping he shows up."
Sony are of course well advised to make sure that contract is iron clad with Murray's signature before going forward. There's been way to many stories of directors like Sofia Coppola not even being convinced that Murray would show up for day one of filming on Lost in Translation because Murray is so difficult to get hold of (lack of agent thing), so you just never know with him. And for a $150 million project, that kind of doubt just won't due. We imagine that it'll be a nervous few weeks for Akroyd, Ramis & co. - who have clearly put their blood, sweat and tears into this thing. We believe a May start date is planned for the Sony 2012 tentpole which will be a passing of the torch movie as a new, young generation take the mantle from Hudson, Ramis, Murray & Akroyd - but of course, it'll only happen if Murray say yes to that script...
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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.