Jason Reitman says directing original stars in new sequel ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ was ‘like seeing the Beatles reunite’

Jason Reitman, left, and Ivan Reitman speak onstage during the "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" cast and filmmakers panel at New York Comic Con on Oct. 8, 2021, in New York City. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for ReedPop/TNS)
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Peter Sblendorio New York Daily News (TNS)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” director Jason Reitman answered the call.

The filmmaker — son of original “Ghostbusters” director Ivan Reitman — remembers being a wide-eyed 6-year-old on the set of the franchise’s first movie nearly four decades ago.

Asked for years if he’d ever direct a sequel, the younger Reitman says he ultimately came up with a vision to both delight nostalgic fans and usher in a new story.

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“The original ‘84 film was about the four Ghostbusters. ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ is about the rest of us,” Jason Reitman told the Daily News.

“It’s all of us who have wanted to uncover the past and find out what’s happened to the original guys. It’s all of us who always wanted to catch a ghost. It’s all of us who have always wanted to drive Ecto-1. We are those kids.”

The new film, in theaters Friday, is set in the sleepy town of Summerville, Oklahoma, where paranormal phenomena begin to wreak havoc years after the Ghostbusters saved New York City.

With the veteran Ghostbusters out of commission, it’s up to the local kids to solve the mystery.

“It started with a story,” Reitman said. “I find that I know I’m ready to make a movie once I know the ending. There was a moment where I suddenly knew what the ending of this movie was, and then I think I needed to tell it.”

Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd star in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” while franchise staples Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson return.

Reitman says the original actors agreed to come back after responding to the script, which the director wrote with Gil Kenan.

“We got to experience that thrill of watching them all step on set together, which is frankly like seeing the Beatles reunite,” Reitman said. “Everyone who was making this movie is a ‘Ghostbusters’ fan. That’s why you’re in the cast. That’s why you’re on the crew. To see those guys show up, all of a sudden I didn’t feel like I was the director of the movie. I felt like I was 6 years old again and on my dad’s set.”

He and Kenan listed everything they wanted to see in a “Ghostbusters” movie before beginning production.

“It was … reconnecting with equipment and music and characters that we love, and also all the new things we’d never seen in a ‘Ghostbusters’ movie that we wanted to see, most particularly a car chase,” Reitman said. “We wanted to see Ghostbusting at 70 miles per hour, with a 12-year-old girl hanging out the side.”

Reitman, a four-time Oscar nominee for “Juno” and “Up in the Air,” worked closely on “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” with his dad, who also directed 1989′s “Ghostbusters II” and served as a producer on the new film.

The first “Ghostbusters” remains among the most-beloved movies ever made, with the Library of Congress preserving it in the National Film Registry in 2015.

Reitman calls it a “privilege” to add another chapter to the franchise.

“If you were 7 years old like me when the original movie came out, it was the scariest movie you’ve ever seen,” Reitman said. “And if you were a teenager, it was the funniest movie you’ve ever seen. ‘Ghostbusters’ is simultaneously a science fiction film, horror film, comedy, and it does all of those things at the highest level. It was a complete piece of entertainment.”

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