Ivan Reitman, the director whose legacy is closely tied to Bill Murray and the late Harold Ramis, has opted out of directing Ghostbusters 3. Instead, he will remain on board as a producer.
The charismatic filmmaker who oversaw both 1984's Ghostbusters and it's 1989 sequel Ghostbusters 2, plans to move into the producer's chair for the third installment of the film. Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) has stepped in to rewrite the screenplay, which has had an extended gestation period, but will finally get off the starting blocks.
Reitman's withdrawal comes on the eve of friend and fellow filmmaker Harold Ramis' passing last month. "A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career," Reitman told Deadline. "We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters." With Ramis's passing, it is more than likely that Bill Murray (another close friend) will not be a part of Ghostbusters 3. Reitman utters a similar sentiment to Deadline, saying, "I just finally met with [Sony's] Amy [Pascal] and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I'd been thinking about it for weeks, that I'd rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help but let's find a really good director and make it with him. So that's what we've agreed will happen."
The new version of the script by Cohen, Reitman and Aykroyd "has the originals in a very minor role," and will instead place the focus on a new group of paranormal investigators.
Ramis, who starred as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and directed Murray in Groundhog Day, died last month at the age of 69 due to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.
Sony plans on filming the third installment of Ghostbusters in early 2015 in New York City.