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‘Ghostbusters’ star Melissa McCarthy recalls real ghostly moment

Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones in "Ghostbusters." | Photo Credit: Sony Pictures

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Considering she stars in the new “Ghostbusters” film, it seemed right to ask Melissa McCarthy is she had ever witnessed a paranormal experience.

The Plainfield native smiled and said, “I did. It was when I was 19 and living in Boulder, Colorado, in an old house with a bunch of pals. There were like a million of us,” quipped the actress laughing at her own exaggeration. “We were back in college. The day we got the house, I stormed upstairs and grabbed the attic [bedroom]— and claimed it for me and a couple of others. I thought I was very clever, because I stole the biggest room, and there were only going to be a couple of us up there.

“Well, this will teach you about being pushy. As each of my friends went up there they each said, ‘Uh, I don’t think so. It’s weird up here. It’s very weird.’ Suddenly, I sensed it, too, and wanted to move back downstairs into one of the other bedrooms, but everyone said, ‘Oh no! You enjoy it up there with all your new friends who are from another realm!’

“What’s funny, is that every time anyone came to visit, they’d sense it too. They felt the strangeness. It wasn’t exactly menacing, but you definitely could sense the presence of some kind of spiritual activity. It was palpable.”

One of McCarthy’s co-stars — “Saturday Night Live” mainstay Leslie Jones — said she remembered her own ghostly experience while filming “Ghostbusters.”

“As you probably know, the Comedy Store [in L.A.] is haunted. One night, I was picking up a friend from work, and suddenly I had this overwhelming feeling. Everyone had left, but I sensed this voice in my head telling me, ‘Get out! Why are you still here?! This is now our place now.’ “It wasn’t mean, but it was a pushing away feeling, making me really want to get out of there!”

McCarthy admitted that while she always has loved to do physical comedy in her films, “[‘Ghostbusters’] pushed it even further.” The actress remembers the stunt coordinators coming to her and saying, “‘Okay. In this scene, we’re going to pick you up by one leg and then shake you like a rag doll.’ Originally, this was going to be done by my stunt woman, but of course — crazy lady that I am! — I said, ‘You can shake me like a rag doll! I want to do this!’ I don’t know why, but when something terrible is going to happen to my character in any of my movies, I go, ‘Let it be me!’ … I’m a walking MRI subject.”

McCarthy became a bit emotional when the conversation turned to original “Ghostbusters” star Harold Ramis. “I would have given anything to have been able to have him see this film and talk to him about it. I love the fact that his son is in it, plus his daughter and grandson. … I don’t want to give it away too much, but there is a moment in the film where you will see a nice homage to Harold. … [Original “Ghostbusters” stars] Dan [Aykroyd], Ernie [Hudson] and Bill [Murray] — also have a cameo in our movie.

“Harold Ramis loomed so large for me and my husband as such a huge comedy inspiration. Getting to know his family while making this movie meant so much to me. I’ll never forget that,” said McCarthy.

This is the fourth time McCarthy has worked with director Paul Feig, who helmed her in “Bridesmaids,” “Spy” and “The Heat.” The actress addressed the question of why Feig is so good with female comics.

“Frankly, I don’t believe he thinks about it like that. Funny wins. That’s the key. He doesn’t go, ‘What do I do with a funny woman?’ After all, no one would ever say, ‘What do I do with a funny man.’ He approaches funny as being totally gender neutral,” said McCarthy.

As for Feig, the director said he loves working with funny women for many reasons, but “I love their humor in general, because I find it to be very good-natured in general — although it can get edgy and spicy and all that.

“But unlike many male comics, they are less aggressive about it.”