Jim Jarmusch’s Notes for a Ghostbusters Sequel
[Originally published September 28, 2005.]
Bill Murray moves into haunted apartment. Sits in chair, impassive. What is he thinking? Possibly about dead friends. He almost gets up. He doesn’t. His face is blank, unreadable. Sounds offscreen. Flying plates? Bleeding walls? Ghosts? Perhaps. We never find out. Slow fade to black.
Bill Murray goes to an Indian restaurant. He engages in non sequiturs with his waiter. (Backstory, NOT FOR USE IN FILM: Waiter has learned English from advertisements on the benches at bus stops.) Disturbance in kitchen. Bill Murray does not go to investigate. Looks at place mat, lost in indecipherable reflections. Something bursts forth from the kitchen. Bill Murray finds himself “slimed” (offscreen) by the lovable little slime monster from the original film. An emotion flickers over Bill Murray’s face. Resignation? Ennui? Ironic detachment? Gentle bemusement? Despair? It is impossible to say. Bill Murray gazes at nothing. His eyebrow starts to move, but then it doesn’t. Overhead shot of a bowl of rice. Xylophone/Hammond organ music. Slow fade to black.
Some young Ghostbusters come to seek the advice of the old pro, Bill Murray. They tell him of bizarre happenings in upstate New York. He listens, completely immobile, in a long continuous take. At last, he leans forward, slowly, and whispers something into the ear of a young man. What does he say? Who knows? It is between him and the young man. Slow fade to black.
Sigourney Weaver cameo. She’s possessed again. What can Bill Murray do about it? He chooses to do nothing. They part. Is that a hint of regret on his face? Could be. Or maybe he is thinking of something else. Is that the devil himself turning her eyes a lurid red? Or is it an allergy? Either interpretation is valid. Slow fade to black.
Bill Murray in a ceremony at the governor’s office. It seems as if he has saved the entire state from an attack of ghosts. The details are not clear. The governor makes a speech. Fade from the speech into reverb-drenched strains of Mahler as Bill Murray’s reflection shivers in a black window, framed by falling snow. Bill Murray is not listening. He gazes out the window, musing over lost time. Or it could well be that he is thinking of a kind of cake he enjoys. One corner of his mouth curls upward. Or, just as likely, downward. The movement is so subtle, perhaps it did not happen at all. Snow. Slow fade to black.
Bill Murray brushing his teeth. The ghosts have been quelled, apparently. Then all of a sudden a ghost pops out of the bathtub! Bill Murray gets a look on his face like “Here we go again!” Freeze-frame. Ghostbusters theme.
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