'I love working with funny women,' Paul Feig says of new 'Ghostbusters'

The director reveals why he wanted to remake the classic comedy and why he was surprised by the online backlash.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Watch this: 'Ghostbusters' director Paul Feig talks remakes, funny women and online fury

When you want to update the classic comedy "Ghostbusters", who ya gonna call? Well, we called Paul Feig, director and co-writer of the rebooted phantasmic flick to discuss remakes, reinventing genres and online fury.

The new "Ghostbusters" stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. They took over the roles from the 1984 original led by Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. So the obvious first question is how Feig could make such a huge, seismic, controversial change to such a beloved film...

How in the name of Peter Venkman's proton pack could he change Ecto-1?

Behind the wheel of the new 'Ghostbusters' Ecto-1 (pictures)

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"I've always loved that era of Cadillac," Feig laughed of the 1984 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse that replaces the original film's 1959 Caddy Miller-Meteor. "Those lines reminds me of the cars my dad had. It felt right. We had a bunch of cars that they sent, and I was like, 'That's the one'. It just spoke to me."

There is one other big change, of course. Like his previous hits "Bridesmaids", "The Heat" and "Spy", this new "Ghostbusters" reinvents familiar stories with a female cast.

"Working with funny women does make every genre you look at take a different turn, because they just haven't been done with women," Feig said. "And selfishly I love working with funny women."

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The phantasmic four: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones are the Ghostbusters in Paul Feig's 2016 reboot.

Hopper Stone/SMPSP

The announcement of an all-female, spook-zapping team proved controversial among people who claimed it would "ruin their childhood".

"At first I was surprised," Feig said of the reaction, "because I thought people were going to be happy just to have another 'Ghostbusters'. I didn't expect the level of shock from a certain part of the population that just had a problem with women."

He acknowledged that some fans were concerned about remaking the film at all, "which I understand. I understand the passion because I think if I hadn't done it myself I would have been nervous if someone else was doing it."

So why remake the film? "It's such a big idea that can't be just contained by two movies from 30 years ago," Feig said. "Especially now with all the stuff we can do with special effects -- it just felt remiss to not play with it again and bring it to a new generation and give them their own Ghostbusters."

Feig said he still loves the geek community despite the abuse he and his cast have received over the past couple of years. "I love the internet. There is a micro fraction of people who can make it very unpleasant, but I don't even consider them to be true geeks. The internet, for the most part, is the home of the geek world and being a proud member my whole life, it's an escape for those of us who don't want to be bullied."

Aside from "Ghostbusters", if Feig could reboot any movie, what would it would be? "Logan's Run. Just because it's such a great story". In fact, a remake of the 1967 sci-fi thriller has been in the works for years, and Feig has a message for whoever ends up producing it. "Do it well," he laughs. "Don't ruin my childhood!"

"Ghostbusters" opens in the UK on 11 July, in Australia on 14 July and in the US on 15 July.

The new 'Ghostbusters' trailer, broken down (pictures)

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