Paul Feig Defends Jason Reitman in Wake of ‘Ghostbusters’ Sequel Outrage

Zack Sharf

Jason Reitman found himself at the center of online backlash after his interview on an episode of “Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast” went viral for including what many interpreted as a dig at Paul Feig’s 2016 female-fronted “Ghostbusters” remake. Reitman is moving forward with his own “Ghostbusters” movie, which will serve as a direct sequel to the original two films released in 1984 and 1989. Speaking to Burr, the director said of his 2020 sequel, “We are in every way trying to go back to original technique and hand the movie back to the fans.”

Reitman’s “hand the movie back to fans” line was considered by many as an insult to Feig’s movie, which notoriously earned sexist backlash from “Ghostbusters” fans upset about the featured ensemble cast being led by four women when the original films starred men. Reitman’s comment sparked outrage online, including a pointed reaction from New York Times television critic James Poniewozik. Reitman took to social media to say his words “came out wrong” and were never intended to be an insult to the 2016 “Ghostbusters.”

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“I have nothing but admiration for Paul and [cast members] Leslie and Kate and Melissa and Kristen and the bravery with which they made ‘Ghostbusters’ 2016,” Reitman said. “They expanded the universe and made an amazing movie!”

Feig himself came to Reitman’s defense, writing, “Jason was a supporter of mine at a time when I couldn’t get movies made. He has always been a true gentleman to me and a supporter of ‘Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.’ I can’t wait to see his take on the ‘Ghostbusters’ universe. Big love and respect to you, Jason. Your fan, Paul.”

Reitman has been an outspoken supporter of Feig’s “Ghostbusters” movie. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly last month to celebrate the announcement of his new “Ghostbusters” sequel, the director shared raves about the 2016 reboot. “I have so much respect for what Paul created with those brilliant actresses, and would love to see more stories from them,” Reitman said at the time. “However, this new movie will follow the trajectory of the original film.”

Reitman’s “Ghostbusters” will be released in 2020.

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