Leslie Jones ‘Ghostbusters’ Role Was Originally Written for Melissa McCarthy

My Twitter feed lit up like a Christmas tree last week when the new Ghostbusters trailer was released. People were not afraid of ‘dem ghosts—they were angry that Leslie Jones, the only Black actress among the main cast, was cast as an MTA employee and not a scientist. The speculation was that race was somehow involved in this decision, and the internet jumped on it with our usual lack of chill until Jones herself commented on the backlash via Twitter.

But in an interview with Empire, director Paul Feig revealed that the controversial role was originally written for Melissa McCarthy. According to Refinery29:

“Actually, when Katie [Dippold, Feig’s co-writer] and I wrote the script, we had written the role with Melissa in mind, but then, I thought I’ve seen Melissa play a brash, larger-than-life character. She’s done it in my movies before!” Feig told Empire when breaking down the new international trailer for the movie. So, he decided to cast Jones in the part. Feig sees this part as a breakout moment for the Saturday Night Live star. “This is the role that Leslie can shine comedically in,” he said. “If you’ve ever seen her do stand-up, it’s just who she is. I wanted to unleash Leslie on the public in the same way we unleashed Melissa on the public in Bridesmaids, with a very showy role.”

These revelations don’t necessarily mean the movie is off the hook from scrutiny, but it does shine a light on the intentions for the character. It’s also clear from the international trailer that the movie doesn’t avoid addressing race.

I understand the scrutiny, but seems like everyone’s heart is in the right place here. As a fellow tall Black woman who is very funny and exceedingly humble, I’m just excited to see Leslie Jones on the big screen.