I haven't weighed in on the all-women Ghostbusters sequel/reboot yet, despite all the internet hullabaloo. Mostly I haven't bothered because I'm not really interested--according to my eight year old brain, the original Ghostbusters was a perfect movie which my childhood best friend Ian and I reenacted approximately six thousand times (give or take) using Legos, building the Ghostbuster firehouse before Lego made kits for themes like that. We preferred astronauts as Ghostbusters because they had those backpack things.
But when the all-female Ghostbusters reboot was announced, my first though, honestly, was "well it's too bad they aren't giving those extremely talented comedians a chance to do their own, original supernatural project, but hey, good that they're turning the all male paradigm on its head." But in the back of my head I thought: man, we are still so segregated between genders, even in terms of adult actors in comedy films. It's kind of sad. But we're still a long way from equaling the playing field for women in film, so if the inclination is to create all-girl comedies, that's more than fine--it's the right time.
But it's been announced that there will be an all-guys Ghostbusters in tandem with the all-women cast, and now I'm annoyed.
When I wrote the Indestructibles what I really wanted was to tell a story that was not a book for boys or a book for girls but a book about both genders working together as equals without ever falling into the expected tropes. I've said this in interviews over the past year, but my goal was to write the characters as such that if you went back and swapped everyone's gender--made Jane Jack and Billy into Billie and Emily into Ernest or whatever--they could play out their behaviors and dialogue essentially the same. I wanted them to treat each other equally, and I did not, in any way, want their genders to be the central factor in their friendships.
But in Hollywood, we can't have a team of supernatural investigators working together as hilarious equals, sharing screen time and adventures and splitting the punchlines with equal fun and skill. We need to have two separate movies, the same way we have two separate bathrooms at the movie theater. Boys go here, girls go there.
And I think that's ridiculous.
I hope both movies are incredibly funny. I hope the casts have fun. I wish no one to fail. But I'm a little tired of seeing an industry that doesn't seem to believe that men and women can't be on screen together as equals, even as they face down a giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow man.
Matthew Phillion is the writer of "The Indestructibles," part-time actor, occasional filmmaker. Currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty dog, Watson.