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OTRC: 'Ghostbusters 3' update: Dan Aykroyd talks production delays, Bill Murray

Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd appear in a scene from the 1984 film 'Ghostbusters.' (Columbia Pictures)

Dan Aykroyd says work on "Ghostbusters 3" has been stalled and that he and director Ivan Reitman "can't wait forever" to make the movie, the anticipated third film in a hit 1980s series.

The 60-year-old actor, who played Ghostbuster Ray Stantz in the franchise, made his comments in an interview with Esquire magazine, published on December 4.

Aykroyd said that following a slew of script rewrites, he and his colleagues are "closer than we ever have been" in starting production on the movie, which he said would focus on the "next generation" of Ghostbusters.

The first "Ghostbusters" film was released in 1984 and focuses on four men who investigate reports of hauntings and strap on Proton Packs as they work to nab evil ghosts that wreak havoc on New York City. "Ghostbusters 2" was released in 1989. Aykroyd said on "The Dennis Miller Show" in August 2011 that filming was set to begin in spring 2012.

He told Esquire that production on "Ghostbusters 3" has now been pushed back to 2013. Aykroyd, who already keeps busy with a vodka business called Crystal Head, which uses bottles in the shape of skulls, said that he plans to pursue other projects if the studio, Sony, doesn't "get on to move it."

"We can't wait forever," he told Esquire. "And now's the time to tell the picture company, and I'd say this quite publically, it's time now to sit down and make this movie, or you will lose your main principals, and you won't be able to make it without us, because we have rights, and now is time to make the movie... You don't take advantage of that in the next three or four months, I'll see you in Australia, where we'll be selling Crystal Head."

He said that he is not sure Bill Murray still wants to be involved in the film, saying the actor was dissatisfied with a script draft. Akyroyd said it had depicted Murray's character, Ghostbuster Peter Venkman, as a ghost -- a role transformation he says was made at the actor's request.

Murray, 62, has not commented about the actor's recent remarks but said on "The Late Show with David Letterman" in June that he thinks he and others will "try again" to make "Ghostbusters 3," adding: "I always drag my feet on it."

"You just have to have a really good script," he said. It's hard. Even the second 'Ghostbusters' wasn't as much fun for me as the first one. It's hard to make a sequel. It's got to be really funny and that first one was so darn funny."

Reitman said in January 2011 that a "very good script" for "Ghostbusters 3" was sent to the actor.

"If Billy had said yes, it would have satisfied his performance and what he wanted in the movie, it would have satisfied his performing skill and how he wanted to be depicted in the movie, it would have satisfied the studio, the writers who wrote it, everybody - Ivan, me, Harold, we were all happy with it," Aykroyd told Esquire. "Then when he said, 'Absolutely not, I'm not in this,' we had to go and really rethink things."

"He abrogated his say in the project, abrogated his rights to have any say in it by refusing the third offer from the picture company, which his lawyer put before him, and Billy said, 'No, I can't respond,'" Aykroyd said. "Now we have to move on, but we'll always leave a hole for him. He's always there. He can always come back at any time and be rebuilt into it, as far as I'm concerned. That's up to his lawyer and the picture company to work out, but creatively, he will always be a part of it."

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