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Leslie Jones' Controversial Ghostbusters Role Was Originally Written For Melissa McCarthy

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Photo: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock.
Though Ghostbusters is not due out until the summer, Leslie Jones' role has already generated some controversy. Her character, Patty Tolan, is an MTA employee — and the first trailer indicated that she is the only Ghostbuster who is not a scientist. That raised questions about the movie's treatment of race, given that Jones is the sole Black actress among the four leads. Jones spoke out against the criticism on Twitter.

But according to a new interview with director Paul Feig, Jones' role was actually meant for McCarthy. However, he thought it was too similar to other parts McCarthy had played in the past.

"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. In one scene, the Ghostbusters are fending off supernatural forces at a concert. McCarthy's Abby Yates surfs the crowd easily, but when Jones' Patty attempts to do the same, she falls flat on her back. "Okay, I don't know if it was a race thing or a lady thing, but I'm mad as hell," she says.

Meanwhile, Feig responded to Jones on Twitter after the actress threatened to quit the social media platform. "Fuck the haters," he wrote.

As for the new trailer, it repeats some beats from the other released earlier, but also features some previously unseen tantalizing goodies. Namely, it features a lot more Chris Hemsworth, who has some interesting, boob-tastic ideas for a Ghostbusters logo. Speaking with Empire, Feig said that Hemsworth's character isn't "just a pretty face" and adds that "by the end of the movie, there’s quite a bit that Kevin does." The trailer does, after all, show him in a Ghostbusters uniform. As long as he does't draw attention away from the women, we're fine with that.
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