Behind The Scenes Saturday: Ghostbusters (1984)

Welcome back to Behind The Scenes Saturday! For my longest BTS post, I bring you over 70 pictures and plenty of interesting trivia for the movie, Ghostbusters – a classic ghost tale that is loved and adored to this day! I can’t tell you how excited I am for the new film!

(Trivia provided by IMDb.com)

(Pictures provided by google.com and IMDb.com)

(SPOILER ALERT!!!)

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  • Almost all of the scenes were performed differently from the script. There’s at least one ad-lib in almost every scene.
  • One ad-lib in particular was when Peter (Bill Murray) mentioned when Egon (Harold Ramis) tried to drill a hole in his head. Ramis improvised the line “that would’ve worked if you hadn’t stopped me”.
  • Harold Ramis fully intended to just write the film. After he realized he was the one best suited for the role of Egon, he decided to take it.
  • To promote the film during its release, director Ivan Reitman ran the Ghostbusters commercial instead of a trailer. Although, in the promotion, the 555 number was changed to a number people could actually call. When people called the number, they would get a recorded message from Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd (Ray) saying they were “out catching ghosts right now”. For six weeks, there were about 1,000 calls per hour. Needless to say, the promotion worked.

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  • Back when Eddie Murphy was offered the role of Winston (Ernie Hudson), the character was supposed to show up a lot earlier in the film. However, after Murphy declined the role, the script was rewritten to have Winston show up in the middle of the film.
  • During filming, Dan Aykroyd would call the Slimer ghost the ghost of John Belushi. Slimer’s eating was actually based on Belushi’s cafeteria scene in Animal House.
  • The beasts who come to life in the film were based on actual statue designs on an old church in Philadelphia.
  • In order to achieve the effect of Dana (Sigourney Weaver) floating in the air, Weaver was placed in a full body cast that was attached to a pole hidden behind the curtains. Ivan Reitman actually got the idea from working on Broadway.

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  • They ended up filming two different firehouses in two different cities. The exterior was shot in New York City, and the interior was shot in a firehouse in Los Angeles.
  • Gozer (Slavitza Jovan) was originally supposed to be played by Paul Reubens, but he turned down the role. Gozer was also going to take the form of Ivo Shander. In the original script, Ivo was not only the building’s architect, he was the one who formed the Gozer cult. He was a pale, slender man in a nice business suit. The character was later changed to a form described as “David Bowie meets Grace Jones”.
  • There were 3 Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man suits and they each cost $20,000. All three suits were destroyed during filming.
  • The film’s jail scene was filmed in a real, supposed haunted jail. People were reported to have scratches all over their bodies with no physical cause. Ivan Reitman almost didn’t want to go back to the jail to continue filming. Everyone was relieved when they realized they had enough footage and they wouldn’t have to return.

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  • Dan Aykroyd actually wrote the character of Peter with John Belushi in mind. However, Belushi passed away before the script was completed.
  • An earlier version of the script gave Winston a bigger part and a backstory with Air Force demolitions expertise. When Ernie Hudson heard about this character, he was so intrigued and excited, he took the part for half of his usual salary. The studio then decided to expand Bill Murray’s character, so Winston’s story and lines were cut down. Ernie didn’t find out about it until the night before shooting began, when he was handed the new script. In 2015, Hudson stated, “I love the character and he’s got some great lines, but I felt the guy was just kind of there. I love the movie, I love the guys. I’m very thankful to Ivan for casting me. I’m very thankful that fans appreciate the Winston character. But it’s always been very frustrating, kind of a love/hate thing, I guess.”
  • To achieve the effects for Ray’s dream ghost, Kymberly Herrin (Dream Ghost) had to have a mold of her body. This mold was for the form fitting rig that would help her float. The prop tech that had to apply the molding plaster to her body was hesitant to apply the plaster to her breasts. Herrin ended up grabbing his plaster-filled hand, placed it on her breast, and she told him to get over it.
  • The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was originally supposed to come out of the ocean and appear next to the Statue of Liberty. However, the scene proved to be too difficult to accomplish.

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  • The proton packs used varied in weight depending on the scene that had to be shot. However, they were always very heavy. Ivan Reitman stated that Harold Ramis complained the least, but he didn’t say which actor complained the most.
  • When Dan Aykroyd wrote the script, it was going to take place in a future where Ghostbusters would exist everywhere and would be in the same league as firefighters and paramedics. However, doing that would’ve cost a lot more, so Harold Ramis was brought in for the script’s rewrite.
  • Sigourney Weaver usually did more serious roles before Ghostbusters came along. She did a lot of comedy in Yale Drama School and took the role of Dana to show her more comedic side.
  • In the original draft, sexual obscenities were written on Peter’s door. Ivan Reitman changed it to “Venkman Burn In Hell” because he wanted a more family-friendly kind of film.

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  • In order to create the scene in the beginning of the film, where the catalog drawers open and the cards fly out, the prop workers stood behind the drawers, pushed them open, used copper piping to blow out the cards.
  • Bill Murray used to tease Slavitza Jovan during rehearsal. When she said her line, “Choose and perish”, it sounded like “Jews and berries” to him. He would respond with, “there are no jews and berries here!”
  • There was supposed to be a romance between Janine (Annie Potts) and Egon, and there was a deleted scene where Janine gives a coin to Egon for luck before he and the other ghostbusters go against Gozer. The romance was removed from the film but later explored in The Real Ghostbusters.
  • Bill Murray only agreed to do the film if Columbia financed a remake of The Razor’s Edge and if he got to star in it.

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  • Chevy Chase turned down the role of Peter because of the major script changes.
  • John Candy was offered the role of Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) but he turned it down because his ideas kept getting rejected. He wanted to play Louis as a German man with an accent and two schnauzers. No one felt the German accent really fit the character. Plus they felt that with the beasts (terror dogs) already in the film, adding two more dogs would’ve been too much.
  • For the Librarian Puppet, a more horrific and ferocious version was created, but not used. That puppet was later used for Fright Night.
  • Slavitza Jovan’s accent came across as comedic to people, so Paddi Edwards stepped in and provided the voice for Gozer.

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