Let me spread my cards out on the table. I think this initial trailer for Paul Feig’s much anticipated Ghostbusters movie looks fantastic. The effects look amazing and there is no doubt that the chemistry between the four female leads is on point.
However, there’s a little something that I can’t help but notice. Yes, it’s a refreshing change of pace to have four talented female leads take over a famous franchise from four talented male leads and retain all the magic that Ghostbusters was loved for. But why does Leslie Jones have to be yet another black working class Joe from the street with a lower IQ than the rest of the cast? In the same way her male counterpart in the original, Winston Zeddemore, (played by Ernie Hudson), was unemployed and only to happy to take on the work offered to him by the team of Ghostbusters: “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.”
In the original script for Ghostbusters Winston was a highly qualified, decorated U.S. marine and was intended to be the smartest and most capable member of the team. Of course when the cameras rolled his character had changed significantly to that of a desperate man looking for any work possible, who will believe anything his white paymasters say, as long as he was paid. Now in Feig’s version Jones plays Patty Tolan an NYC subway worker who is hired by the new team after she discovers the main supernatural threat in the movie. But although she has a job she most definitely doesn’t have the smarts: ‘You guys are really smart about this science stuff,’ she quips.
It seems the sex of paranormal investigators, scientists and particle physic experts in the Ghostbusters universe are easily interchangeable. Just not their colour.