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Director Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters” reboot features a controversial new character lineup, but Leslie Jones’ Patty Tolan has recently been at the center of it all. Following the release of the first trailer, some fans were upset that Jones — the singular African-American character in the main cast — was a subway worker, while the other three were scientists. Both Feig and Jones have come out in defense of Jones’ role in the film, and Feig recently revealed that he intended Melissa McCarthy to play the role.
“Actually, when Katie [Dippold, Feig’s co-writer] and I wrote the script, we had written the role with Melissa [McCarthy] in mind, but then I thought I’ve seen Melissa play a brash, larger than life character,” he told Empire. “She’s done it in my movies before!”
“[Jones] is one of my favorite people on the planet,” he explained. “I don’t normally like comedy that’s big and loud, but she is able to pull that off in a way that feels real and it’s her. And when I make a movie, I want to find the funniest people I know and once I know what’s the funniest thing about them I want that to be the thing that I put on screen and let shine. This is the role that Leslie can shine comedically in. 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.”
Opening July 15, “Ghostbusters” also stars Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Chris Hemsworth, Andy Garcia, Michael K. Williams, Matt Walsh and Neil Casey, with cameos by franchise veterans Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver.