Getting to Know the Ghostbusters

ABBY YATES is passionate about the paranormal and science in general.  She’s always been a believer – she’s given up a lot for that belief, and she won’t let...
Ghostbuster's Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) in Columbia Pictures' GHOSTBUSTERS.

ABBY YATES is passionate about the paranormal and science in general.  She’s always been a believer – she’s given up a lot for that belief, and she won’t let the non-believers grind her down.

The role is played by Melissa McCarthy, who re-teams with Feig for the fourth time.

“Abby has always been the believer,” says McCarthy.  “It doesn’t matter if people are making fun of her, which they always have. It doesn’t matter if nobody else believes. It doesn’t matter that people think she’s crazy. She’s just always believed in the paranormal. I just love that she’s stayed the course, no matter what.”

ERIN GILBERT believed in ghosts as a child, but as her physics career grew, she realized that her fascination with the paranormal was holding her back and hurting her credibility.  She determines to put that old life behind her and forge a new career as a legitimate scientist… until her past comes back to haunt her.

The role is played by Kristen Wiig. “Erin grew up believing in ghosts – she actually saw a ghost when she was a child, and no one believed her except Abby.  That really scarred her. She wanted to live a life where she wasn’t the weird one, so she left the paranormal world behind and went into academia, becoming a professor at Columbia University. Of course, she finds Abby again and meets Holtzmann and Patty.  As it turns out, they’re these four misfits that find each other. I love that kind of story.”

JILLIAN HOLTZMANN has always been an oddball.  She thinks outside the box, doesn’t follow social norms, and she likes putting things together, inventing things. She doesn’t judge others but she gets a thrill out of pushing the buttons of uptight people, especially Erin.

“SNL” standout Kate McKinnon plays the engineer.  “I loved the idea of playing a scientist,” she says.  “I like playing a woman character that doesn’t revolve around a romance, which is rare in a movie. I’m so glad to have been given that opportunity.”

“Holtzmann is a genius,” McKinnon says, describing her character.  “Holtzmann is the tech geek in all of this, which is usually the geekiest geek. She is in charge of perfecting the machinery that allows them to accomplish this mission.  She is an essential creature. She’s bizarre. She is freakish. She’s full of joy. She is me. Yes, this is the closest character to my actual self that I’ve ever played, if that tells you anything. “

PATTY TOLAN was born and raised in NYC.  She has always loved reading, especially nonfiction and New York City history – and discovering new things, including the paranormal – so really, she’s an amateur NYC historian with as much knowledge as any of the other three. After she sees a ghost while on the job, not only does she know who to call, but she joins the team to lend her expertise.

Leslie Jones, another “SNL” star who has broken through in the past two seasons, takes the role. “It still seems like a dream. I keep thinking that I’m going to wake up in my apartment in Santa Clarita, where I was before everything happened, and I’m going to wake up and go, ‘Seriously, that was a great dream.’”

About her character, Jones says, “I’m bringing the audience into this situation as a regular person, and we’re observing it together. They’re going to be talking about ectoplasm, currents, ghosts, and portals, and somebody has to be the one who’s going to ask, ‘What’s a portal? Where does it go?  Why?’  Patty brings the normalcy – she reads a lot of books, she knows everything about New York, she’s a sponge for facts and keeps her mind open.  It was important to me and to Paul that Patty is the one who says what the people are going to say in the audience.”


Ghostbusters is in theaters July 15.