Bill Murray did not want to be in Ghostbusters 3. I mean, he really didn’t want to be in Ghostbusters 3. He really, really, really didn’t want to be in Ghostbu… OK, you get it. Whether it’s because he wasn’t happy with the way Ghostbusters 2 turned out, or just because he thought it was funnier to watch everybody get upset over it, the man stood by his proton pack and refused to do it until they finally just went full reboot and cast Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy as the Ghostbusters (a move he wholeheartedly supported, by the way).
While it’s clear now that he never had any intention of revisiting the role of Dr. Peter Venkman, he certainly had some fun over the years making us all think that maybe he’d do it. This “will he or won’t he”-type trolling would be insufferable coming from anyone else, but because he’s “Bill F*ckin’ Murray,” it’s actually kind of endearing.
Here’s a look at Murray’s history of teasing us all.
The 2010 Scream Awards
From 2006 to 2011, Spike TV held their annual Scream Awards, which were awards for horror, sci-fi and fantasy films. In 2010, Zombieland (in which Murray had a prominent cameo) won “Best Horror Movie” — and Murray arrived to accept the award (as well as his much-deserved “Best Cameo” award.)
Before anyone got their hopes up too high, Murray quickly explained the outfit. “I don’t mean anything by this,” he told the crowd, “It was just the only thing left that was clean.”
Bill Murray Allegedly Shreds The Script
If the National Enquirer is to be believed (and they’re more reputable than you’d think), Bill Murray didn’t just hate the copy of the Ghostbusters 3 script he received back in 2011 — he shredded it. As in, he put it in a shredder and shre… again, you get it. Murray allegedly took the destroyed script, stuffed it into an envelope and mailed it back to Dan Aykroyd with a note that read, “No one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts!”
Bill Doesn’t Want To Hurt Anyone’s Feelings
By 2010, Bill Murray had already rejuvenated his career with Rushmore and been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Lost in Translation. For the first time since he made The Razor’s Edge in 1984, he was actually being praised for his serious (or, at the very least, semi-serious) dramatic work. But hey, Bill! What about Ghostbusters?!
In an interview with GQ that year, the subject of a third Ghostbusters movie came up, and Bill answered thus:
“It’s all a bunch of crock. It’s a crock. There was a story—and I gotta be careful here, I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. When I hurt someone’s feelings, I really want to hurt them. [laughs] Harold Ramis said, ‘Oh, I’ve got these guys, they write on The Office, and they’re really funny. They’re going to write the next Ghostbusters.’ And they had just written this movie that he had directed.”
In this same interview, Murray explains that he almost did the film if they killed him off and made him a ghost (which he’s mentioned in other interviews before).
“Get Over It, Pal”
Whether the story about the shredded script is true, Murray revisited the subject during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman that year. During the interview, he illustrated his feelings about Ghostbusters 2 (“Now, there was a Ghostbusters 2, wasn’t there?” “Technically.”), as well as Ghostbusters 3 (one of the few times he suggested he would actually do the damn thing). Also touched upon is the work he did on Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which led to one hell of a funny story.
So Long, Harold Ramis
While so much of the attention regarding third Ghostbusters film revolved around Murray, it’s important to remember that it wouldn’t have been a true sequel unless everyone came back — Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis. Aykroyd and Ramis wrote the first film together, and, if they thought making the sequel without Murray would be a challenge, it would be peanuts compared to attempting to make it without Murray and any of the other three.
In 2014, Ramis died in his home in Chicago. Murray and Ramis had been friends for years and worked on films such as Meatballs and Stripes together. However, a falling-out between the two while filming Groundhog Day led to the two of them not speaking for 21 years. Thankfully, Bill’s brother Brian convinced him to visit the dying Ramis at his home, and the two reconciled. Murray would go on to honor Ramis during the Oscars that year in the clip above.
While Murray might have considered returning to the Ghostbusters franchise provided he was killed off, it was really the death of Harold Ramis that put an end to any chance of there being a Ghostbusters 3 with original cast members in major roles.