Why John Candy Said No to Ghostbusters, Giving Rick Moranis the Role of a Lifetime


The 1980’s horror-comedy hit Ghostbusters is a near-perfect movie as evidenced by its ongoing popularity. One thing that could have inexplicably made it even better though is the addition of comedy legend and Uncle Buck star John Candy, and it may or may not surprise you to learn that this is exactly what director Ivan Reitman thought too. Candy was sent the script for the first Ghostbusters, with Reitman wanting him to play the part of Louis Tully, a role which ultimately went to Rick Moranis after Candy turned it down.

The question remains though, why would John Candy turn down the chance of starring in such an obvious classic-in-waiting? Well, by the sounds of it Ivan Reitman and John Candy had creative differences over how the role would be played, with Candy having a wildly different take than Reitman.

“The original screenplay, we wrote it for John Candy. I remember sending it to Candy because I had just worked with him on Stripes. John didn’t get it. He kept saying, ‘Hey, well, maybe can I do him with a German accent?’ And I was a little hesitant right away. I said, ‘That’s kind of an odd thing. It’s a very American, New York-based movie.'”

“He was looking for a handle, and we got into the very uncomfortable conversation and finally, it was clear that he was not going to do it. I literally called Rick Moranis the same day and sent him the script the same day that Candy had turned it down. Rick called me like two hours after he got it, and he said, ‘Please thank Candy for turning this down. This is amazing. I know what to do with this.'”

While what differences Candy’s involvement would have brought to the movie will always play on the minds of both Ghostbusters and Candy fans, it certainly sounds like Reitman made the right decision here. As intriguing as the suggestion of a random German accent is, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids star Rick Moranis played the part of the neurotic, terrified Louis Tully flawlessly, and with hindsight, it is difficult to imagine anyone else in that role.

This is not the first time that Reitman has discussed Candy’s involvement with Ghostbusters. A few years back, the director commented on John Candy’s refusal of the role, mentioning that Candy also wanted the character to have “a bunch of German Shepherd Dogs.” Was Candy going through some sort of phase where every character quirk had to have the word ‘German’ involved? We shall sadly never know.

The Ghostbusters franchise is set to continue with director Jason Reitman’s upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife which will, if the trailer is any indication, harken back to the original tone and feel of the original Ghostbusters. While almost all of the original cast is coming back for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Rick Moranis’ Louis Tully will unfortunately not be returning. The cast of the original Ghosbusters recently reunited for Josh Gad’s series Reunited Apart.

As for the late John Candy, it is a shame that we will never know how his take on Louis Tully would have fared, but at least we still have many other charming signature roles to remember him by. This comes to us from The Ghostbusters Youtube channel.

Related: Matrix 4 Delayed Until 2022, Godzilla Vs. Kong, Tom & Jerry, Witches Also Delayed