Director Jason Reitman discusses Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Director Jason Reitman discusses Ghostbusters: Afterlife

November 27, 2021 A DGA Membership Screening Q&A in Los Angeles

A new generation steps up to answer the question, “Who you gonna’ call?” in Director Jason Reitman’s supernatural comedy, Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Set three decades after the original Ghostbusters, Reitman’s tells the story of a single mother and her two children who move to a small town in Oklahoma, where they discover their connection to the Ghostbusters and their grandfather’s secret legacy.

On November 27, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Reitman discussed the making of Ghostbusters: Afterlife during a Q&A moderated by Director Eli Roth (Borderlands).

Complimented by Roth that Reitman accomplished the difficult feat of crafting a comedy with genuinely frightening horror sequences, much as his father Ivan Reitman did with the progenitor films, Reitman admitted to actually being intimidated by the horror genre.

“There are things about comedy and drama that I think I have a pretty firm understanding of, but when it comes to horror, as much as I am a fan, I don’t understand the magic trick. I’ve stopped movies before and rewound and watched scenes over and over trying to understand, ‘OK why am I getting scared?’ Paul Thomas Anderson knows how to make a scene suddenly scary out of nowhere. ‘Wait a second. I wasn’t scared three seconds ago. What did he do that’s making it this effective?’ What I want the audience to feel is the way that I felt watching movies as a kid, so I’m trying to emulate a style of shooting that you and I both grew up with which had no virtual cameras. So it’s, ‘How do we make sure the camera always feels grounded? How do we make sure we never use a camera that feels like it’s on a drone? Everything has to be on a camera car. We basically don’t even use Steadicam. So, when we started talking about the tone of this film and watching movies together, I said, ‘It really needs to feel like this.’ I don’t know how to tell my DP, ‘Light it this way in order to get this. This is how the scene is supposed to feel.’ I know how to get the actor there. I know where to put the camera. Beyond that I rely desperately on this group of people that I’ve been making movies with for years.”

Reitman’s other directorial credits include the feature films, The Front Runner, Tully, Labor Day, Young Adult, Thank You for Smoking and Men, Women & Children; the pilot for the series Casual; and episodes of the series The Office. Reitman was nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures and the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing for his 2009 feature, Up in the Air. He also garnered an Oscar nomination for his directing on his 2007 feature, Juno. A DGA member since 2000, Reitman currently serves on the Western Directors Council and the Independent Directors Committee.

You can listen to Reitman's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Shane Karns – Print courtesy of Sony Pictures

< >
Log in as a Member to see upcoming events, screenings, and meetings.