With Annie Potts Return To Ghostbusters, She Needs More Hubbub, But Not Too Much Hubbub

When Annie Potts first called, I had just gotten some news I sort of expected*, but it still made me, let’s say, “out of sorts” for a bit. To the point I missed her call, which I have never done before. After apologizing profusely to every publicist involved, we rescheduled for the following Friday and, well, she never called. You know what? Touché. Now “even Steven,” we gave it one more shot the following week. I am very glad this happened.

Potts returns as Janine Melnitz in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, this time suiting up as an actual Ghostbuster for the first time. Potts was basically left on the cutting room floor in Ghostbusters: Afterlife and wanted some assurances that wouldn’t happen again. It was about halfway through production when Jason Reitman came up with the idea of Janine finally suiting up and getting her own proton pack (she says, yes, it’s heavy).

As I pointed out to Potts, between Ghostbusters, Designing Women, Toy Story and Young Sheldon, that about covers everyone on Earth being familiar with an Annie Potts role. Now, one you may not be familiar with is Texasville, which Potts says is her best performance. And, gosh, she just may be right. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, this 1990 sequel to The Last Picture Show was impossible to watch. The only option was an out of print DVD that costs a small fortune. Well, great news, two versions of Texasville are included with the new The Last Picture Show Criterion 4K set. If you enjoy Annie Potts performances, oh, you have to watch Texasville.

Ahead, Annie Potts talks about, well, a lot of things. Including that her character from Pretty in Pink made some noise on social media a few weeks ago for trading in some of the coolest fashion on the planet for a much more conservative look at the end. Oh, Annie Potts has some pointed opinions about this.

*I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better last person to interview at this here website.

Annie Potts: I’m sorry I missed you last week. My days just completely galloped away from me and I didn’t know if it was Christmas or Easter. It was just insane, that last week in New York. And I’m shooting my series still out here, so I just haven’t known where I was or what I needed to do.

Well, I missed you first last week. So we’re even Steven.

Oh, good. Oh, I feel so much better. That’s a good way to start.

I have to tell you this. I’ve been wanting to see Texasville for the longest time, but it’s been impossible to find. Criterion just released The Last Picture Show on 4K, and they included Texasville and I’ve now finally seen it…

As a bonus?

I wouldn’t call it a bonus, because it includes two versions of Texasville. You get the original theatrical version and the black and white director’s cut.

I’m so happy to hear this because I love that film!

Oh, it’s so good.

It’s so interesting, and it was one of the great joys of my life to work with everybody, but especially Jeff Bridges. And I’m just really glad to hear that that’s out because people occasionally ask me about it. And, I mean, I don’t have a cut! I think it’s probably my best work in film. Immediately it disappeared after coming out.

You know what? I’m someone who thinks you’re great in everything, but you might be right. You are tremendous in that.

But I didn’t even know that they’d released it in black and white as well. Because Peter, who was fantastic, I mean, he was an actor’s dream. He just loved actors and he loved the process and it was great that way, but he wanted to do this big depth-of-field thing like George Stevens did, and I’m not sure that that worked. Of course, The Last Picture Show had worked so well as black and white. Man, the performances in that. Cloris Leachman!

She’s so good.

Like, whoa. Anyway, well, I’m glad you stumbled upon that.

I always wondered why it wasn’t streaming. Within 20 minutes we hear a Bruce Springsteen song and a Madonna song and I’m like, “Oh, that’s why it’s not.”

Can you buy it from the streamer?

You can buy the disc from Criterion.

I see. I’m writing this down because this is… I need this info. Criterion for the disc, okay. Wow, amazing. That’s fantastic. That makes my day.

I was thinking about your career. Between Ghostbusters, Designing Women, Toy Story and Young Sheldon, that covers about every human being on earth.

Each one of those would speak to… Yeah, that seems right.

You’ve got everyone covered.

And yet I walk through life completely under the radar.

But you probably want it that way?

Oh, yeah. I mean, I don’t need all that hubbub. I just love the work. I’ve always loved the work.

You deserve more hubbub.

Well, it’s early yet.

With Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, did you just get a call from Jason Reitman, “Hey, do you want to play Janine again?” Is it that easy?

Sort of. I mean, I had had a bigger role in Afterlife. And because of time, the story became sprawling, it got lost. And that was fine. That was just fine. But they called me to do this, and I said, “Well, you got to give me something to do.”

I see. You didn’t want that to happen again.


So you wanted more hubbub.

I wanted a little more hubbub than being completely left on the cutting room floor.


I mean, I didn’t need much, just a little hubbub. And he gave me some nice stuff and halfway through shooting he said, “I think we’d like to put you in the flight suit.”

Oh, you didn’t know that before?

No, I did not. So I was pretty pleased about that. And I thought it was hilarious to see those three big guys and a little old woman busting some ghosts.

Well, Rick Moranis got to wear it in Ghostbusters II

Oh, that’s right! I forgot. Well, men get everything before women.

Well, I’m glad you got to finally be a Ghostbuster.

Me, too.

The proton packs look heavy.

Oh, they are. It was very hard on the guys. They had two different sets. They had the regular ones. I mean, they have to have components in them that make them look like they’re shooting lasers or something. Anyway, it was very heavy. And then they had some that were made out of foam for when the guys needed to fall down. Now, my laser was a new-fangled thing that fit on my arm. It was a little hard to read, I thought. But anyway, it doesn’t matter. It’s all pretend shit. You know what I mean? Yeah, I got a real proton laser strapped to my arm. No.

That should be the name of your autobiography, “It’s all pretend shit.”

It’s all pretend shit.

That’s a great line.

I have a few names for biographies and tombstones and stuff. I haven’t decided on which one yet.

I’m sure you answered this a lot back in 1989 when Ghostbusters II came out, but the style change for Janine between the two movies, was that your idea, or was that Ivan Reitman’s idea?

Well, it was a practical thing. First of all, there were five years between the first and the second, which is a lot of time. And I was doing Designing Women at the time and my hair was halfway down my back and I couldn’t cut it, so I had to wear a wig. And that was the wig that I liked the most. And I thought it was very ’80s. And it was like, well, why can’t we have some fun here? So we did that. People change. People change their style. Looking back, it’s a little jarring, but I much preferred the second one.

Speaking of Designing Women, I know it was very popular everywhere, but I grew up in Missouri where Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is king. She was an alum of my college, Mizzou…

Yeah, I went to Stevens College in Columbia.

Oh, wait, I didn’t know that…

Yeah, I went there. They had a wonderful theater school.

We have both lived in Columbia, Missouri in our lives.

Crazy. I think I was there pretty long time before you were, but yes, been there. And I know that that show was very big there. I mean, it was before the internet and stuff. And, I mean, our numbers were crazy. Our numbers were like Super Bowl numbers. It was fun. There was quite a bit of hubbub, though.

You were getting hubbub then, yes.

Yeah. I was in the middle of the hubbub then! But all I’ve done all my whole life is work and come home and take care of my children. And that’s been quite enough for me.

I feel fairly certain you don’t pay attention to social media, but you were the subject of discussion a few weeks ago. Gen Z discovered Pretty in Pink


I want to get your take on this. Someone posted about this – and they basically think your character, Iona, dresses like the coolest person on Earth, but at the end when she’s like, “I’m finally going to grow up and go on a date,” she is dressed like she’s from the ’50s. And they’re mad about that.

Right. Right. And I had a problem with that at the time. And that’s what they wanted. That would not have been my choice. Plus, I mean, it’s a sign of the times that she gave in to convention. And I don’t think women do that shit anymore.

Right, I think that’s why people are confused.

Now it’s, “I think I’ll be myself. How about that? Because that’s enough.” Yes, she fell back into convention having been an incredibly unconventional, delicious person. So Gen Z is right to be in a bit of pique about that. In fact, now I’m worked up about it!

I think people will like that you’re worked up about it.

But Andie goes off with Blane, too. In the original script she went with Duckie.

Which makes so much more sense.

I know. Everybody I think would’ve been rooting for that, and I don’t know why. Because John Hughes – and I wish there was somebody who was writing for kids like he did because, man, he really had his finger on the pulse. Really. I think he knew how to make kids felt seen, heard, understood, and without being mean or violent or anything like that. And I don’t think that there’s anybody out there for teens like that. And if I could write it, I sure would, but I’m not a writer.

I think people are going to like your answer about Iona.

Okay! Put that out there, Mike! Make sure that your generation understands that!

Well, I’m Gen X. But I think we understand it.

Oh, wow.

I was 10 when I saw Ghostbusters in theaters.

Perfect age.

It is.

I think this is my last interview for a bit, and they saved the best for last because you turned me on to that Texasville disc. I’ve been feeling, “I think that might’ve been my best work, and I think it may be lost to the ages.”

Well, it’s back. You should get this disc and watch it again because it is fantastic.

I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it! There’s a new biography coming out about Peter Bogdanovich. I know I talked to the biographer just, I don’t know, a year ago now? And I’m so glad to. Peter was a great lover of film and filmmakers and he wrote many biographies himself on the great filmmakers. I’m glad one’s coming out about him.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.