Esquire is taking a look back at writer, director, and actor Harold Ramis' most famous work one day after his death. Originally published by Premiere Magazine, Jason Matloof's "An Oral History of Ghostbusters" features interview with key cast and crew members, including director Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, and Ramis himself. (Unsurprisingly, the often press-shy Bill Murray did not participate in the movie's retrospective.)
The story traces the movie from Aykroyd's original conception ("It took place in the future, with many groups of Ghostbusters functioning in an intergalactic setting," said Reitman) through casting and a chaotic shoot ("when we were shooting the big climactic scene on Central Park West and 65th Street, we stopped traffic in 90 percent of Manhattan," said Ramis), and beyond to the movie's lasting legacy.
Ramis spoke about how each Ghostbusters filled a different emotional role, perhaps best suited to each actor's strengths. "We very quickly came up with a model," he said. "Dan [Aykroyd] was the heart of the Ghostbusters, I was the brains, and Bill [Murray] was the mouth." Egon's signature, unusual look and style, meanwhile, came from a fairly obscure source:
I found my character on the front page of an abstract architectural journal. There was a picture of a guy and an article about his work. I didn’t understand a word, but his image was great. He was wearing a retro three-piece tweed suit, wire-rim glasses, and his hair was standing way up. I thought, "That could be my guy." I took the name Egon from a Hungarian refugee I went to grammar school with, and Spengler was from [noted historian] Oswald Spengler.
If you're a fan of Ramis' work or Ghostbusters in general, this retrospective is a must-read. Beyond the Ghostbusters history, Esquire also published a tribute to Ramis and his mastery of the comedy genre.Whereas musicians have perfect pitch, comedians have comedic timing," writes Ned Hepburn. "Ramis was an absolute master at it."