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Paul Rudd Talks Driving an Original Ecto-1 in New ‘Ghostbusters’: “I’m in a Small Group Who Can Claim That”

Paul Rudd is back for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, and this time, he’s in the drivers seat of the iconic Ecto-1 vehicle.

Following 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the franchise picks up with an ancient artifact unleashing an evil force, and Ghostbusters new and old join forces to save the world from a second ice age. Original stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson — who appeared briefly in Afterlife — return to their classic roles, starring alongside Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace.

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“It was so great getting to work with them on this,” Rudd told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s New York premiere on Thursday of working with the trio. “It’s so surreal honestly. I’ve been watching Ghostbusters my whole life and I’m such a fan of theirs and a fan of the film, to be part of it is a thrill, a total thrill.”

The Ecto-1 is also back, this time with Rudd behind the wheel, as he revealed the car was one of the originals from the 1984 film.

“They’re not easy to make so they keep them and I think they’d heard this might have been one from the first one that I got to drive,” the star continued. “It was unreal, to be able to drive that thing was unbelievable. I know I’m in a small group of people who can claim that, what an honor” — though he did admit much of the driving was done by a stunt person or on a green screen, “but some it wasn’t and I did get to actually drive it.”

Aykroyd said that returning to the world of Ghostbusters after the original and its 1989 sequel “was very satisfying as an artist and an actor to be asked to come and play this role again, and to have a concept that we all originated way back when be embraced by everybody. I feel flattered, I feel grateful, I feel exhilerated tonight because we’ve melded the original Ghostbusters with a new cast in an organic, honest way that people are going to love.”

Hudson added, “It’s great to bring the franchise back into full awareness of the public. The fans have been waiting for a long time. It’s nice to not just be in the movie but have a reason for being in the movie.”

The two also reflected on their appearance in Afterlife, which saw themselves and Murray appear alongside Harold Ramis’ Egon Spengler, who died in 2014 but was featured via CGI. Aykroyd said the visual effect was “so moving and emotional,” and Hudson remembered, “When I first walked on the set, I hadn’t seen these guys in a long time, and they had put on their jumpsuits and I had my jumpsuit on and it was kind of a spiritual moment. I’m just thankful that we’re still here, because Harold isn’t, and we all felt that absence. [Original director] Ivan Reitman was here at the time and he’s transitioned since… it just was very, very special.”

And though Frozen Empire is the fifth film in the franchise — including the 2016 all-female reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones — there are plans it will not be the last, as Aykroyd noted, “I hope this young cast stays with us and wants to do a few more of them. We’ve all got ideas for stories, so we’ve just got to see how Frozen Empire does out there at the box office.”

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire hits theaters March 22.

Neha Joy contributed to this report.

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