Bill Murray is notoriously difficult to get a hold of in Hollywood. And, for years, any time he was asked about a possible Ghostbusters sequel or return, Murray's answer remained the same: he was not interested. But, after the all-female reboot cast was announced — Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Melissa McCarthy — and after Dan Aykroyd gave the new film his enthusiastic blessing and filming began, Murray agreed to appear in the reboot. In other words, the fact that there is a Bill Murray cameo in Ghostbusters is nothing short of a small miracle. So, what does Murray actually do in the movie? Well, let's put it this way: his cameo in the reboot is the last thing you'd expect from Peter Venkman.
As explicitly stated by filmmakers behind Ghostbusters, the returning original cast are all playing brand new characters in the reboot — no more Ray Stantz (Aykroyd), Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), or, obviously, Peter Venkman (Murray). It's been pretty widely assumed that the returning actors, then, will not be playing ghostbusters of any kind (past, present, or future). So, if Murray won't be suiting up to fight some ghosts, then who does he play? According to IMDB, Murray's role in the Ghostbusters reboot is that of Martin Heiss. (Slight spoilers ahead.)
Unlike cameos from other members of the original cast, Murray appears twice in the new film. The actor's cameo also stands out because he actually gets to share the screen with all four new Ghostbusters. (His character even steps foot into the new Ghostbusters' headquarters.) "When Bill came on the set, it was really emotional and completely nerve-racking," Feig recalled in an interview with Wired. "I collapsed when we finished that day, I was exhausted."
In Ghostbusters, Martin Heiss is the opposite of Peter Venkman. A professional paranormal debunker, he appears on television to say that the Ghostbusters are lying about their paranormal battles and ghost encounters. This time around, Murray's character isn't seeking out ghosts — he's flat out denying they exist. Of course, he's proven wrong by Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and the others when they let out a ghost they've captured right in front of him.
The fact that Murray wouldn't have to fight any ghosts himself was likely something that apparently appealed to the comedian, but, more than that, he has said he decided to make a cameo because he admires the actors involved. "It kept eating at me, and I really respect those girls," Murray told Vulture about why he finally said yes to another Ghostbusters movie. With other original cast members lining up to appear in cameo roles, Murray also worried that his absence would be taken to signify his contempt for the project. "And then I started to feel like if I didn't do this movie, maybe somebody would write a bad review or something, thinking there was some sort of disapproval [on my part]," he added.
Murray's short appearances as Heiss in Ghostbusters should be enough to quiet some of the skeptics, and entertain fans of the original all at the same time.
Images: Columbia Pictures; Giphy (2)