Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard on What Makes 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' New and Exciting

CUL PS Finn Wolfhard
Actor Finn Wolfhard is photographed at Netflix's Junket for 'Stranger Things' Season 3 at The London Hotel on June 27, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. Dani Brubaker/Contour/Getty

"Even though it's a property that has been around for so long, somehow it still feels new."

After Stranger Things, It and now Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 19), Finn Wolfhard knows a thing or two about '80s nostalgia franchises. "I think people are really drawn to that [era] because it reminds them of a happy time." That said, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is still firmly set in the present day. "Ghostbusters is contemporary, but it's also not throwing the other movies out the window; it's a sequel." Nor could it, considering the latest installment is directed by Jason Reitman, whose father, Ivan Reitman, directed the original. "Even though it's a property that has been around for so long, somehow it still feels new, and that's because of what Jason brought to it." Another exciting aspect of the film is what it can do to bring families back to the movies. "It's a giant blockbuster movie, and we haven't seen that kind of movie in a long time, one that you can actually go with your entire family and see." Considering how familiar Wolfhard is with the '80s, one must ask what franchise from the era needs to be rebooted next. "I've talked a little bit about Monster Squad. I think that could be fun. And Gremlins 3 would be pretty cool."

Were you a fan of the original Ghostbusters films?

I was a giant fan. I was obviously drawn to it because it was Ghostbusters, but it also felt new and fresh without it feeling like a completely new movie. It has the original Ghostbusters feel, but also something that's new and exciting. I was especially drawn toward it because Jason Reitman was doing it. And that's it's like a family affair. That was a huge and really good sign, just to have Ivan Reitman's blessing on the whole thing.

Older fans of the original films obviously have a connection to the story, but what does this film offer newer fans?

I think there's an amazing feeling when you watch [the original] movies because you're simultaneously watching fantasy and crazy ghosts and all these crazy special effects, but you're also watching very funny comedy. In 1984, when the movie came out, you hadn't really seen that kind of movie before. I think people want to show up because it's a giant blockbuster movie, and we haven't seen that kind of movie in a long time, one that you can actually go with your entire family and see.

Jason Reitman quite literally grew up on the original films. What was it like working with him on this?

It was an absolute dream. Jason really took me seriously, which felt amazing. He let me collaborate with him. It was the first time a director had pulled me aside and been like, "What do you think?" I really valued that. It felt like I was on set with my family. I think that's why the movie feels so special because Jason uses the same crew, he's known them for years. It was pretty amazing to be a part of that environment.

And Bill Murray is back! What was it like acting alongside him?

It's like being in a room with Gandhi or something. You're not really sure if it's real or not. I'm honored that I was even in the same room with him.

What do you think it is about the '80s that makes it so appealing?

From what I can gather, it was a time with a lot more freedom for kids. They could just get on their bikes and go. I think it was a simpler time. And all those movies! So many '80s movies are iconic. I think the perfect thing is nostalgia without it just being nostalgia. Blending together nostalgia and a really good story. That's why I like Stranger Things. Ghostbusters is contemporary, but it's also not throwing the other movies out the window, it's a sequel. So I think people are really drawn to that because it reminds them of a happy time.

You directed Night Shifts, your first short film. How did some of the directors you've worked with influence your style?

I've learned from every director that I've worked with. Jason Reitman taught me something amazing. I'd come to set and say, "Jason, I have this idea. I want to make this short film, what do you think of it?" Kind of get his opinion on it. I was pitching this really grandiose idea. And he was like, "Dude, why would you do that? It's your first short. Just do it where two people are talking and catching up." Then I met two cast members [on Ghostbusters], one of them is my writing partner and the other is a good friend now. There's something really fun about being a part of a team and being a leader of that team. But it takes everyone. Like Stanley Kubrick said, the director is just another one of the crew, which is absolutely true.

What do you think makes a good reboot?

A fresh take on it. That's what I love about Ghostbusters. Even though it's a property that has been around for so long, somehow it still feels like a new movie, and that's because of what Jason has brought to it. I think that totally speaks to how smart Jason is. I think people complain a lot about reboots and remakes and stuff. Remakes and reboots that are not well received or just cash grabs don't come from a passionate place. Like Jason wrote this movie on spec with Gil Kenan and took it to Sony, and Sony said yes. That's how it should be. It needs to come from a real passionate place. It's like David Lynch doing Twin Peaks. If a filmmaker wants to finish the story or tell the story, I think that's totally fair, and I think audiences will respect that. I think you start to alienate people when it doesn't have any life in it or they've done it 100 times. It's the age-old Hollywood thing of doing it over and over again. Listen, sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't. I think someone just has to come along and really care.

You have a new album Karaoke Alone with your band The Aubreys. Do you plan on doing more music, and can you foresee doing a project that combines both acting and music?

I like to keep them separate because I think of music like escapism a little bit from the other stuff. I love making music, and I'd love to keep doing it. For me, what my life is gonna be like in 15 years, I'd love to be still acting but I'd also love to be writing and directing and just making music. Not even touring the world or anything, just making it and releasing it. Hopefully, I'm on the track to doing that because I really care about making music.

Are you excited for season 4 of Stranger Things, and can give us any teasers?

It's very dark. We say that every year like, "Oh, it's getting scarier and scarier," but we all looked at the Duffer brothers during the table read and we're like, "You guys are gonna really mess people up." Like this is nightmare fuel for a lot of people. But it's also the funniest season, which is crazy. It's the scariest season and simultaneously the funniest season, so I'm excited for people to just be confused at why they're laughing when they're also terrified. I'm excited for it.