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Ghostbusting With Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s Celeste O’Connor

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Director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman have created a movie that not only honors the past and builds towards the future with Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

In the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe, Afterlife focuses on a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.

At the center of Afterlife is a small family: single mom Callie (Carrie Coon), her 15-year-old son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), and her 12-year-old daughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace). After they are evicted from their Chicago apartment, the family moves into a ramshackle Oklahoma homestead – a dirt farm, really – that had been owned by her recently deceased father, a man she had no memory of. As it turns out, that father was none other than Egon Spengler, who had mysterious reasons for moving from his Manhattan home to rural Oklahoma.

Trevor is your average normal, awkward teenager who is trying to adjust to living in the middle of nowhere after life in the big city. He’s shell-shocked, there’s no cell service, he’s annoyed about everything – until he finds a person he falls for, and it all becomes worth it to him. That person is Lucky, played by Celeste O’Connor.

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In celebration of Ghostbusters: Afterlife on home video, The Koalition spoke to actor Celeste O’Connor about becoming a Ghostbuster, working alongside the original cast, Lucky’s decision behind joining the team, that touching ending and more.

“Lucky is a girl from a small town who wants something bigger, she just wants adventure. She is such a badass – she doesn’t care what people think. She is the daughter of the sheriff in town, so she can basically do whatever she wants, and she kind of messes with people.”

“There is nothing to do in her small town and so she meets this kind of new guy, and she doesn’t really trust him at first, but she’s also intrigued, and I think just the idea of like adventure and getting into something you’re not supposed to is really exciting for her.

While at the heart of Afterlife is about uncovering family secrets, family bonds, forgiveness, and saving the world — it’s also about mischief, mysteries, and haunted mine shafts as the budding ghost hunters try to save their town and themselves. These characters exist in the present day – decades after the events of 1980s Manhattan, which have been long forgotten.

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“When I read the script, I fell in love with all these new characters, and I just immediately wanted to be a part of the story, especially because I love sci-fi, and the imaginative worlds Ghostbusters definitely falls into. Just getting a chance to be a part of this world that kind of exists outside of our own was really exciting for me. Getting to use the proton packs and feel like a badass, I was all for it.”

“Ghosts have not been prevalent for decades,” notes Jason. “The original Ghostbusters have not been thought about. The idea is if you had been born in the early 2000s, you probably don’t even know about it or maybe you’ve just briefly heard about it. It’s not a part of your everyday life.”

What makes Ghostbusters… Ghostbusters? What was the magical combination of comedy and scares, tone and story, performances and effects, songs and score, that added up to a film that was popular in its own time and remained high in memories?

More specifically, for Jason Reitman, the question was: what was the best way to make a Ghostbusters movie – one that felt like a Ghostbusters movie, the next chapter from the two original films? With his father Ivan at his side as producer, Jason knew who he was gonna call. “What we wanted was to make a completely nostalgic experience, something that puts you right back into what it felt like to watch the original movie in 1984,” he recalls. “So, we’re using all kinds of techniques my dad and his crew employed back in ‘84. This should feel like an old family recipe, because it is.”

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“There is a high level of effects in the movie, and we did as much in camera as possible,” explains director of photography Eric Steelberg, ASC. “The more you can have in front of the camera, the more we as a crew or me as a cinematographer, as well as the actors, can react to it. Then we can extend it with visual effects, but having it be real is always really exciting for everybody involved.”

“We did that final sequence over the course of a couple of days. [Regarding] the physicality and like the technical aspects of it was really interesting to me because I had never done any of that stuff before, so I was working with the stunts team, and I got to do some wire and harness work which was really cool and then you know blasting the proton pack.”

“Jason the director gave us mini tutorials on set in order for us to get our physicality and our stance right, he would push on the front of the of the proton blaster so we could feel the pressure of what it would feel like to actually use it. So, that was a lot of fun to just understand all the physicality of everything.”

“Me, Finn and the rest of our friends in the back of the pickup truck [are] going up the mountain to the mine shaft was my favorite scene because it was just so beautiful that day; you could see mountains,desert and rivers just for miles all around. The sun was setting it was just it was stunning, it was beautiful.

To learn more about Ghostbusters: Afterlife, check out our full interview in the video above.

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