Filmmaker, Ghostbusters crew member visits Branson IMAX | Entertainment

The Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex hosted Hollywood Filmmaker Sam Longoria for a showing of Ghostbusters: Afterlife on Friday, Nov. 19. 

Longoria, who currently resides in Branson, served as an assistant matte camera man in the visual effects department for the original 1984 Ghostbusters film. Originally from Renton, Washington, Longoria said he was invited by Special Effects Cinematographer Richard Edlund to come to California and apply to work on his next film, which was Ghostbusters. 

“I was hired by the top two movies in Hollywood that year. It was Ghostbusters and then the second one was the sequel to 2001. It was called 2010,” Longoria said. “Ghostbusters was brilliant and 2010 was not and that taught me a lot.”

Longoria said working on each of those films, where one became a success and the other did not, led him to choose his projects more carefully in the future.

“I got really good at figuring out which script was more likely to end up a movie that a bunch more people would pay to see,” Longoria said. “That’s what George Lucas said his criterion was. He said he made movies he wanted to see and that was good enough. The majority of millions of people would say, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s what I want to see.’ That’s all you’re doing. You’re picking the winner for tomorrow.”

Longoria said he believes one of the reasons Ghostbuster became so successful is due to it being a comedy film about intelligent people.

“It was a wonderful movie. I loved the whole idea of them being on the edge of bankruptcy and they’re having to take out a loan on his parents house so he can buy this fire station. It’s just goofy and it’s wonderfully goofy,” Longoria said. “I never felt like it was talking to me like I was stupid. Most comedies are loud and crude. That can work, but Ghostbusters had a bunch of guys who really were smart and it was okay to be smart.”

One of the pieces of the Ghostbusters film Longoria had a hand in the creation of included the scene where Slimer is circling the chandelier at the Sedgewick Hotel. 

“I took the world’s longest bathroom break and didn’t tell my boss. ‘Can I go? They want me to come up with funny things for the ghost who’s flying around the chandelier to do.’ He said, ‘No you can’t, because I need you to do the job I paid you to do.’ I said, ‘I’m just going to the bathroom. I’m not leaving or anything.’ So I left and went over to the other building and came up with funny things for the ghost to do,” Longoria said.

“They all copied what I was doing. If you look at the first shot of the first ghost that they capture, he’s a peanut. If you look at it, he’s made of a peanut. My friend Gary Waller took out of the trash and counted all of these peanuts going, ‘This one looks like the ghost.’ He painted it green, so it flew around the chandelier. That was kind of how we knew the movie was going to work, because it was a ghost. We just made it. It flew around the chandelier. It doesn’t matter that he used to be a peanut. That’s what movies are. They’re wonderful. You’re making comedy out of trash.”

Longoria also reflected on meeting Jason Reitman as a child, the director of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the son of Ghostbusters Director Ivan Reitman. 

“He was 10 years-old. He’s 51 now. That feels weird. He was a smart little kid and he wanted to know how you threaded the camera and he wanted to know how the lens fit and all that stuff,” Longoria said. “I did not give him his gifts, but I did talk to him and help him and root for him the whole way.”

Longoria additionally shared his thoughts on his personal expectations for the new Ghostbusters film.

“The funny thing is for Jason, it’s in his blood. He’s a showman that makes movies. He’s made several movies that were a big success. Then this one, he at least has the sense to make a Ghostbusters movie that looks like a Ghostbusters movie and has the real characters and all that,” Longoria said. “If he carries it off with a good story, it’s certainly the best choice at the theater. I have huge expectations for it. It can still tank, but there’s a million guys dressed in costumes waiting for him to show his next movie. That’s cool.”

Longoria made his way to Branson looking to get into the real estate business, but while he’s here he hopes to continue making movies.

“I have nine scripts. I’m serious about this. They’re good and they’re funny,” Longoria said. “I brought all my camera equipment and it still works. I’m all set up to make movies here. All I need is a few people who want to do it too. The people who were here first. Walt Disney, Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss and I mean I can go on and on and on all day. There’s a lot of incredibly creative people who were here, and I want to follow in their footsteps. I want to make really good movies.”

While at the Branson IMAX, Longoria has the chance to see the new film as well as visit with attendees. The Ghostbusters of the Ozarks were also in attendance for the Friday night showing of the film with their replica Ecto-1 to pose for photos and greet fans.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon. For showtimes visit bransonimax.com. For more information on Longoria visit facebook.com/samlongoria1. 

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