A Ghostbuster visits the Vail Valley
In a New Yorker profile of Harold Ramis, writer Tad Friend sums Ramis’ accomplishments up like this:”What Elvis did for rock and Eminem did for rap, Harold Ramis did for attitude: he mass-marketed the sixties to the seventies and eighties. He took his generation’s anger and curiosity and laziness and woolly idealism and gave it a hyper-articulate voice. He wised it up.”This year the Vail Film Festival folks honored Ramis – of Animal House, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day and Ghost Busters acclaim – with the Gold Summit Award. Ramis plays a small part in the studio film “Knocked Up,” which screened at the festival Friday. He’s worked as a screenwriter, director and actor on some of the most popular and influential comedies of our time. The Vail Daily caught up with him for a quick phone interview.Caramie Schnell: Any chance of a third Ghostbusters? Harold Ramis: The chance is slim. I would say the bigger question is, is there a chance for a third Ghostbusters that involved me, Dan and Bill? That seems slim to me. Danny’s kept it alive forever. He’s the one that originated the whole thing in the first place. We’ve talked to Columbia about doing a fully and digitally animated Ghostbusters and that’s another possibility. The only thing I know for sure is there is a video game coming out that Danny and I are going to do the voices for. So that’ll be fun.
CS: When will that happen?HR: We haven’t recorded yet, but they’ve showed me all the animations for the game and the game settings and the characters. It’s all in the works now. I guess it’s a long development period on games and very expensive – they invest a lot of money in these things.CS: What is the project you’re most proud of – both from an acting and directing standpoint?HR: I guess the film that got me the most respect as a director is “Groundhog Day,” the film more people mention on the street is “Caddyshack.”
CS: Is there one that stands above in your mind?HR: No, I always love the last one I did. No matter how it did. I think the “Ice Harvest” was a really good picture that not enough people saw. I feel that way about several of my films. It’s almost as if the ones that weren’t as popular are the ones I embrace most because they need the love. “Caddyshack” doesn’t need any love right now.CS: What are you working on currently?HR: I’ve been waiting to direct a picture I wrote, I think all I can say is it’s an epic comedy. I’ve been directing television the early part of the year. I did three episodes of “The Office” for NBC. After Vail I’m going back to LA to do a pilot for CBS, which is written and produced by Paul Reiser, the guy that did ‘Mad About You’ for all those years. This is a romantic comedy and it’s a pilot so there’s a one in a thousand chance it’ll get on the air but it’s worth a try. It’s a good script, it’s called “Atlanta,” and we’ll see what happens. Oh and I just acted in two movies – the movie “Knocked Up” comes out June 1. It looks very funny. I just acted in Jake Kasdan’s new movie called “Walk Hard,” which Judd Apatow wrote the script for with Jake and I acted for him in “Orange County” so that was fun, to go back with Jake. They both look really, really funny.
CS: Going back to Animal House, did some of your own fraternity experiences help inspire it? HR: Oh yeah, there were three of us writing it and the first thing we did was sit in a room together every day for three months debriefing each other on our entire college experience, every one we knew, every funny thing that happened, every weird thing, every character we could think of and then everything we heard from older brothers, cousins and then every college legend we’d ever heard. It’s all in there. It was an interesting collaboration because one of us would have an experience – we’d use part of one person’s experience then embellish it with the experience of the other two. The things that happened in the film were more fantastical than the things that happened to us in real life but some pretty amazing things happened in real life too that didn’t even make it on the screen – too crude or too insane. CS: You directed National Lampoons “Vacation.” What do you think of the current generation of Lampoon films?HR: For whatever reason I haven’t seen them, I haven’t seen “Van Wilder,” I did see the “Vacation” sequels – a couple of them were funny. I thought there were definitely funny spots in all of them. That’s definitely Chevy’s greatest character. But no I have not see the “Lampoon” output over the last several years. I don’t know how calculated it seemed when we were doing it, but these seem more calculated to me. But that’s not fair to say, because I’m sure we were called sophomoric and stupid when we came out too.Arts &Entertainment Writer Caramie Schnell can be reached at 748-2984 or email@example.com.