There are few humans who can legitimately claim to have been slimed by a ghost.
Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman was hit with serious ectoplasm in the original 1984 Ghostbusters. Kristen Wiig’s scientist Erin Gilbert takes the slime for her team in the new Ghostbusters. Repeatedly.
She loved the concept of being on the slime end of multiple jokes in the reboot (in theaters Friday), which also stars Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.
“And I was really, really excited the first slime,” says Wiig, who spoke by phone after missing earlier interviews for Ghostbusters because she was sick. “Then I realized how hard it was to get the slime off. And how slippery it was. And it was like, ‘How many more days do we have?’
“But you can’t complain, it’s like who else gets slimed at work?” she adds.
The new Ghostbusters wasn’t just another day at the office for the stars or director Paul Feig. The slime work was just the messiest of it.
Wiig concedes that excessive slime might have taken a long-term toll on her health.
“I might have a lawsuit on my hands, thank you,” Wiig jokes, letting out a real cough. “Yeah, I’m still not sure what the slime is made of. No one will answer my calls.”
Wiig’s most extensive sliming came in a scene following a museum apparition’s full-on ecto-eruption. “They actually laid me down on the ground and just poured slime all over me,” she says.
On the bright side, the ectoplasm is presented as the reason for the Ghostbusters’ jumpsuits (they’re slime protection). The new suits received an orange-lined facelift so they wouldn’t be exact replicas of the originals.
“We didn’t want it to be the female version — cinched waist, low-cut and high-heel boots,” says Wiig. “We wanted them to look like (Jones’) character found them and we souped them up a little bit. It’s a very gender-neutral hero. That’s what so great about it.”
The new suits are unveiled onscreen during a ghost-battling sequence at a heavy metal concert shot in Boston’s Wang Theatre. McCarthy’s character Abby Yates body surfs during the melee, requiring the actress to make her first stage dive on a set.
“I’ve been in mosh pits before, but never stage diving,” says McCarthy. “I was like, ‘What’s the secret?’ And they said you run, turn around and dive backward.”
It was a leap into the arms of trained stuntmen posing as concertgoers. But McCarthy loved it, doing it seven times.
“The last two times it was like, ‘Let me do one more,’ ” says McCarthy. “Because this is never going to happen to me again. No one in real life is going to catch me.”
McKinnon says her once-in-a-lifetime moment came as the film’s driver, because her oddball character Jillian Holtzmann was deemed most likely to be behind the wheel of the Ecto-1 mobile. McKinnon cops to being a terrible driver in real life.
“Little did they know,” she says. “I just hoped I wouldn’t hurt my friends.”
McCarthy worried about that, too.
“Right before Kate really gunned it and peeled out, she was like, ‘This is probably not going to go well,’ ” McCarthy recalls. “And then she just hit the gas.”