‘Ghostbusters’ to scare up big bucks at theaters thanks to work of RVA native

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC )– One new movie is hitting theaters this weekend and its expected to scare up some big bucks. And one of the filmmakers behind “Ghostbusters” is from right here in RVA. Who you going to call? The ghostbusters are back for a reboot of the 1984 classic.

It recasts the team of wacky ghost hunters as women. Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon star. Once again, there’s something strange going in the neighborhood and NYC residents are looking for the team to fix it.

When it came to updating the special effects, who did filmmakers call? Chesterfield native Sean Santiago, a Clover Hill High School grad and a veteran of more than a dozen Hollywood films. He oversaw special effects for the comedy.

“We had vendors in Canada, England and Australia that were creating the backgrounds, the images, the ghosts,” he said. “They would then be delivered to us in Los Angeles to finish the picture.”

When most people think special effects, they think computer generated effects and there are plenty of those in the film. But, Santiago says to make the ghosts look like they’re in the same space as the actors, his team turned to some low-tech tricks.
He says, “We have a ghost named Gertrude, she haunts a mansion. She glows, shooting off lights in all these directions. On the day we shot it, the actress wore these bright L-E-Ds all over her costume. That gave us the glow on the cast, the walls, and the environment.”

Santiago spent time on set with the actors to plan out the elaborate ghostbusting sequences. Today’s special effects are light years ahead of what they had to work with when the original film hit theaters 32 years ago. Having talented comedians, like Melissa McCarthy, who know how to create funny moments by going off the script creates interesting challenges for special effects teams.

Santiago says, “you want to let them breathe, to let the scene breathe, and let the actors find the funniest lines. In special effects we want everything to be planned out meticulously. That’s so we know where the ghost will show up and where the camera needs to be pointing. This movie really kept us on our toes as we tried to move along with the cast.”

“Ghostbusters” is expected to win the box office this weekend. Hollywood experts are predicting it will take in between 50 and 60 million dollars during its opening weekend.

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