It’s been nearly four decades since Bill Murray, Dan Akyroyd, and Ernie Hudson all first strapped on very heavy proton packs and ran some red lights around New York City. So it only makes sense that the now septuagenarian Ghostbusters: Afterlife actors (okay, Akyroyd’s only 69) combined their late-night press tour into one elevator ride. First stopping off on 6 to talk about the Ghostbusters sequel with Jimmy Fallon, Hudson, Aykroyd, and Murray then hopped up to the 8th floor to tell similar but amusing variations of their time both on the very belated sequel, and, for Murray and Akyroyd, their shared experience spent working in that very building on Saturday Night Live.
“I knew all the secret exits out of this place,” Murray told Meyers of his time dodging SNL producer Lorne Michaels and staff, while, over on The Tonight Show, Akyroyd recalled how he took then-SNL cast member Fallon on a tour of all the coolest forbidden spots on 30 Rockefeller Plaza, including crawling through a window onto the 11th floor roof garden. Murray, told that security had tightened up since the 70s, advised Fallon to go catch the view of St. Patrick’s Cathedral from the now-locked garden anyway, advising, “Yeah, you can still do everything,” and urging Fallon to just break the window. “They repair everything around here,” assured Murray.
The three actors’ dual appearance to promote their ghost-busting return may function as something of a spoiler for those who haven’t seen the Jason Reitman-directed Ghostbusters sequel. Especially since the ever-choosy (some might say cantankerous) Murray has long derided the idea of ever climbing into that damn jumpsuit and heavy proton pack again over the years. But, hey, the ghost’s out of the trap now, as Murray, Aykroyd, and Hudson were all effusive about how fun—if occasionally exhausting— it was to suit up once more.
“It was physically and emotionally painful,” said Murray to Meyers of the experience, while confiding to Fallon that Jason Reitman (son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan) was still as much of “a pain in the ass” as he’d been on his dad’s set back in the 80s. Comparing the ordeal of wearing the cumbersome gear to that of carrying either a vacuum cleaner or a small refrigerator on their backs (depending on which interview you watch), Murray told Fallon, “It’s not as heavy as the original was, but we’re weaker.”
Both appearances functioned to remind Ghostbusters fans of the trio’s traditional dynamic. Murray was the smart-ass, chiming in with some affectionate one-liners at the expense of pal Aykroyd’s perpetual pitchman’s patter. After Akyroyd recalled how his original Ghostbusters script was a far-flung trip through various alternate dimensions, Murray scoffed at the idea that Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis’ eventual shooting script was somehow more grounded. “Something we all know,” joked Murray, “ghost-busting here in the Tri-state area.”
Meanwhile, Hudson, hired like his character Winston Zeddemore into an already-existing comedy/ghost-busting unit, remained pleasantly surprised at how beloved his role has become out of all those in his long and accomplished career. (Seriously, please do not just drop by Mr. Hudson’s house unannounced, people.) When Aykroyd and Murray regaled Meyers with the time that the two of them stole on-set police motorcycles and pulled over pedestrians in Central Park, the more sensible Hudson noted that he was content to watch his co-stars technically commit several felonies. (As Winston might have noted, “Hey, I just work with these guys.”)
On each show, Murray urged Akyroyd up to his feet to do some of his famous, lurching Blues Brothers dancing (perhaps trying to give his friend a heart attack on-air), while Aykroyd, as ever, touted his spiritualist great-grandfather’s influence on his Ghostbusters scripts. (In case you were wondering, yes, noted believer Dan Aykroyd consulted his ancestor’s “seance room” for inspiration.)
The three took time to extol the virtues of departed partner Ramis, with Akyroyd telling Meyers about Ramis’ “incredible intelligence, his great sense of humor, his frame of reference,” while Murray couldn’t help but puncture the sentiment about his lifelong (if occasionally estranged) friend by joking, “That’s enough, he’s passed away,” and making jibber-jab hand gestures. In the end, however, it seemed like the three actors were genuinely having fun, with Hudson explaining how he got emotional seeing the whole crew, including Sigourney Weaver, back together one final time. “Everyone that has seen it says that they cry at the movie,” deadpanned Murray, “so it should be an extremely successful comedy.”
Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally returns to theaters this Friday.