'Ghostbusters' Gozer Role Was Offered to This Comedy Legend

Comedy Icon Was First Choice for ‘Ghostbusters’ Gozer Role

The unmatched success of the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters” is a testament to its unique blend of comedic talent and moments that genuinely send shivers down your spine.

The character Gozer, the movie’s main villain, was initially meant to be portrayed by Paul Reubens. However, this role was later transformed into the memorable character we know today.

The decision by Reubens to decline the role of Gozer might have significantly impacted his career, steering him onto a different path in the entertainment industry.

During the 1980s, “Ghostbusters” emerged as a standout among pop culture franchises, thanks to its clever mix of top-notch comedy from the “Saturday Night Live” era and an engaging action-adventure story. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film became a hit across generations, inspiring numerous sequels and reboots. Its ability to blend humor with genuine scares, especially with the introduction of Gozer, set it apart from its contemporaries.

Gozer, an ancient entity worshipped as a demi-god, presented a unique challenge to the Ghostbusters. Unlike other spectral threats, Gozer could possess human bodies, escalating the danger. The character’s ability to inhabit and control humans, as demonstrated through the possession of Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett, added a thrilling dimension to the movie’s climax.

Slavitza Jovan brought Gozer to life on screen, with Paddi Edwards lending her voice to the character. Gozer’s appearance as a Sumerian goddess, complete with glowing red eyes, added an eerie touch to the film. The original concept for Gozer was quite different, envisioning the entity as a New York businessman, a role initially offered to Paul Reubens.

Reubens, known for his comedic persona Pee-wee Herman, was considered a fitting choice for Gozer due to his rising popularity and unique comedic flair. However, his decision to pass on the role led to the creation of the androgynous figure seen in the film, inspired by icons like David Bowie and Grace Jones.

Had Reubens accepted the role of Gozer, it could have altered the trajectory of his career. Following “Ghostbusters,” Reubens achieved fame with “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” establishing himself as a leading figure capable of carrying a franchise. His involvement in “Ghostbusters” might have overshadowed the ensemble cast and potentially led to appearances in the sequels, possibly limiting his opportunities to explore diverse roles.

Reubens’ ability to portray memorable villains, as seen in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Gotham,” suggests that his portrayal of Gozer could have added a darker yet comedic element to the film. Despite this, Gozer remains a pivotal character in the “Ghostbusters” series, with the franchise revisiting the character in various installments, highlighting its significance as the series’ first major villain.

“Ghostbusters” is available for streaming on Hulu in the U.S., offering fans and new viewers alike the chance to experience this iconic film. Additionally, the franchise continues to expand with the release of “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” set to hit theaters on March 22, promising more supernatural adventures for audiences to enjoy.