5 Directors Who Could Replace Ivan Reitman on ‘Ghostbusters 3’

By  · Published on March 19th, 2014

Columbia Pictures

It doesn’t come as a surprise that in the wake of Harold Ramis’s death that Ivan Reitman has dropped out of directing Ghostbusters 3. The silver lining is that he will still be involved as a producer, but that is one more original player that won’t be back in his regular spot. Reitman told Deadline of his decision as well as details about the road the sequel has taken up to this point, including how the current draft from Etan Cohen with Dan Aykroyd has the main characters of the first two movies taking a back seat, as long rumored. “Harold got sick about three years ago, and we kept hoping he would get better,” Reitman says of the latest plan. “I kept pushing forward on the Etan Cohen and we now have a draft that is very good, that the studio is very excited about.”

Along with the news that Reitman is vacating the director’s chair is a further update that Sony is still moving the production forward and aims to start filming no later than early 2015. That’s plenty of time for Reitman and the studio to find a replacement to helm the movie, but they don’t really need very long at all because I’ve got a shortlist right here of the five best men (and woman) for the job.

1. Wes Anderson

Let’s just get it out of the way. Unlikely, sure, but Anderson might be the only filmmaker who could pull Bill Murray back to the franchise. It would also be a great way for Anderson to show that he can break free from his stylistic expectations. Or not. It could be interesting seeing a Ghostbusters movie that dances to a whole new beat. And that beat could be in the music of The Kinks, whose song “Wicked Annabella” might inspire a new spectral adversary.

2. Ruben Fleischer

Another director who could try to convince Murray to return. And maybe, like with Zombieland, the appearance would be a surprise cameo. Imagine if they could get him in the movie and keep that a secret until opening weekend. That would be amazing. Speaking of Zombieland, that movie showed Fleischer had a fun feel for supernatural comedy that we need for a 21st century update on the franchise. He could use an easy hit after the failure of Gangster Squad, too.

3. Jason Reitman

This guy could also use a pick-me-up after his last movie. He also happens to be Ivan Reitman’s son, which means he’s got a good in for the job. Given that Ghostbusters 3 is going for a next-generation story, it makes perfect sense for the director’s chair to also be filled by a literal next-generation filmmaker. Hopefully he paid attention while on the set of Ghostbusters II, in which he makes a brief appearance (pictured above).

4. Lake Bell

She has acted for Ivan Reitman before (in No Strings Attached), she’s a hot new up-and-coming filmmaker with a fresh talent for comedy (see In a World…) and yeah she’s a woman, which would be a novel idea for this franchise about boys and their ghost-hunting toys. You wouldn’t have to have the new generation of Ghostbusters be all women for it to make sense. It would be cool if there was at least one female Ghostbuster, though, and Bell would be perfect in that spot, too.

5. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Okay, so I guess this a list of six directors, but this duo counts as a single entity. They’ve already wowed us with three movies that everyone had doubts about, so if anyone is to give us hope of another rescued property it’s them. One thing I know is the haunting montages would be a hoot, probably filled with extra-textual jokes. If they’re not picked, they at least need to write the Ghostbusters into the Lego Movie sequel.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.