An Open Letter to Dan Aykroyd

Below is a letter that I sent to Dan Aykroyd some time ago, and that I’d like to now share with you.


Last year around this time, I was finishing work on my dad’s Christmas present. It happened to be a full feature-length screenplay, and I had worked on it for months straight. My dad was the guy who showed me “Ghostbusters” for the first time when I was a kid, and my entire life has been suffused with references from those two films, both classic and incredibly obscure. (Seriously, it only occurs to me now that I might have always been a hipster. What did my parents do to me?)

For years, my family has discussed the possibility of “Ghostbusters 3.” Long car rides have been the traditional venue for these symposiums, but all of us are such huge Ghostbusters nerds that almost any time it comes up, we wind up jawing about it for ages. When I set out to write this movie for my dad, I wanted to include what he would like to see, but more so than that, I wanted to write him something that wasn’t just a wish-fulfillment fan wank. Something that would hold true to the complex web of references that fly back and forth across his household.

His reaction floored me. At first, he didn’t really seem to know what he was looking at – my heart began to sink as I realized I might have put months into a huge mistake. I think he thought it was a joke until he was a few pages in, a couple of days after Christmas.

You can tell my dad’s really excited when he swears without even noticing. I was hanging out with my brothers in the living room, when from his office we hear a shout.

“Holy FUCK!”

Out he comes, standing in the doorway, jaw hanging.

“It’s the whole fucking thing! You wrote the whole movie!”

After that, he plowed through it without pause. My mum would call to tell me that he scared the life out of her more than a few times; she’d forget where he was in the house, quietly absorbed in his iPad, until his giant booming laughs (or more profanity) would remind her he was home. When he’d finished, he wanted to ask me something. A question echoed by literally (the real kind of literally, not that new sneaky figurative one) every other person who’s read it since.

“Can you get this thing made, Brett? This needs to happen!”

So Mission Number Two began. I spent 2013 revising and finalizing the drafts, until I had a professional-quality screenplay. I acquired the contact information for Dan Aykroyd’s agent and publicist, along with several other major (and not-so-major) players involved. I carried the actual screenplay on a USB drive in my pocket all through TIFF, just in case he found himself in Toronto. I tried to convince myself that there was a snowball’s chance in hell that I could see my vision of this movie made.

No such luck.

No big deal.

I wrote it for my dad, after all. It was a gift for him, not something I intended to sell off to the world. When I started “Ghostbusters 3,” I wasn’t even a published author yet. But as this next Christmas rolls closer and closer, I keep thinking about my promise to him. To try and get it made. With the new rumours abounding about “Ghostbusters 3,” that the production might start this coming year in 2014, I’m going to do something a little different.

I’d like to show him that others feel the same way as he does. That he’s not the only Ghostbusters fan out there that hopes this sequel will stay true to the originals, and be a part of the experience he wanted to share with his kids. So I’d like to share the first fifteen pages of this original screenplay with you, Internet. Maybe if you feel the same way, then we can hope together that “Ghostbusters 3” doesn’t go the way of all the other 20-year-plus-later sequels (I’m looking at you, Crystal Skull).

I mean, worst case scenario, Dad’s still got the hard copy. More importantly, he’s always got that very specific vocabulary to remind me that he liked MY movie when we go see “Ghostbusters 3” together, whenever it happens and whatever it might be. I’m looking forward to that.

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