If you thought the trailer for Ghostbusters, released last week, gave a lot of extra screen time to Leslie Jones, who plays an MTA worker turned ghost-busting professional, you were right: She’s supposed to have the breakout role. In an interview with Empire, Paul Feig revealed that her part was originally written for Melissa McCarthy, who now plays one of a trio of scientists. “But then I thought I’ve seen Melissa play a brash, larger than life character,” Feig said, so he considered Jones instead, who’s made a career out of doing brash comedy on SNL. “This is the role that Leslie can shine comedically in. 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.” As Empire notes, the interview took place before both the criticism of Jones’s casting as a subway worker (she’s the only black lead, and the only non-scientist) and Jones’s response to it, cropped up, though Feig has more recently defended his decision in response to those claims, defending Jones on Twitter and writing that people should “grow up and leave my cast alone.”
Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan.