Harold Ramis' Daughter Speaks Out on 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife': 'The People We Love Are Always With Us'

When the highly anticipated Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally hit theaters over the weekend, somebody wasn’t there to celebrate. Original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis died in 2014. Now, his daughter is speaking out on her iconic father and the Ghostbusters franchise legacy he left. 

Original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis stars in 2 ‘Ghostbusters’ movies

Harold Ramis was a pivotal member of the original 1984 Ghostbusters cast. He starred alongside Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson. Moreover, he co-starred in the 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II

Perhaps most importantly, Ramis was a writer on both films. He and Dan Aykroyd wrote the brilliantly funny screenplays that cemented the franchise’s iconic status. Ramis played Dr. Egon Spengler, Ph.D., the geeky paranormal investigator, and former professor. 

Spengler’s steady focus on the academic aspect of the paranormal serves to keep the Ghostbusters grounded in an otherwise chaotic string of events. 

But when Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally rolled around, Ramis was no longer with the original team. He died on February 24, 2014, of autoimmune disease. The new film does feature his character prominently, however. 

The plot revolves around Spengler’s estranged daughter Callie (played by Carrie Coon) and grandchildren Phoebe and Trevor (Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard, respectively.) Furthermore, his descendants move to his farm and unravel the mystery of Spengler’s hidden supernatural legacy. 

Bill Murray (as Dr. Peter Venkman), Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore), and Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz) do appear in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Additionally, original co-star and Venkman’s love interest Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barret) joins the new cast. 

Harold Ramis’ oldest daughter praises ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ director Jason Reitman

In new comments for The Hollywood Reporter, Ramis’ eldest daughter praises Reitman’s treatment of the franchise and her late father. 

“He was so careful to get it right, to really honor the early films and everyone who was in them, but also to make something for now and the future,” Violet Ramis Stiel tells THR. “Maybe he is the only person who could do that. He is the physical bridge.”

Stiel also commented on the impact of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and how grief shapes the new film. 

“One thing that is timely about the movie is yes, it is a comedy, but it is also about loss and grief,” she says. “And we are all dealing with that.” 

Stiel notes that Reitman’s approach to Ramis’ character works for a specific reason. To clarify, he focused on the character, not the late actor. 

“There are so many parallels to real life, but it is just a movie,” Stiel says. “And it is not actually him. It is a character. Jason, smartly, focused on capturing the Egon character and not necessarily my dad. I feel like it really worked in that way. Ultimately, it leaves us with that feeling: The people we love are always with us. They don’t go away.”

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ is a family affair 

Violet Ramis Stiel is part of the Ghostbusters franchise family. And that’s what the latest sequel is all about. Sigourney Weaver commented about that during a September 2021 interview with ET Canada. 

“I think that for us, it’s such a family legacy,” she said. “That to work with Ivan Reitman’s son Jason, who’s done an amazing job; and this sort of came out of his thinking about Ghostbusters and what would make sense now.” 

Reitman himself confirmed that the movie is, at its very core, about family. “I wanted to make a movie for my father,” he said of Ivan Reitman, who directed the original Ghostbusters. “And I wanted to make a movie for my daughter.” 

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