Film

Kate McKinnon: "Holtzmann is the Ghostbusters' Ringo Starr"

Who you gonna call? How about Kate McKinnon, who plays tech wiz Jillian Holtzmann in the Ghostbusters reboot...

If there was something strange in your neighbourhood, who would you call?

I would like to think I’d have the presence of mind to call the police. I’d probably call out into the air for help and then I’d try to deal with it myself.

That’s probably better advice than that found in the Ghostbusters theme song.

Who knows if a ghostbuster could really help you with your problem. It’s sort of a specific thing.

What’s the best way to describe the new Ghostbusters incarnation – a sequel, remake, cover version of an old favourite?

Reboot is the best way to describe it. It’s the same universe and it’s the same basic idea but it’s starting all over again from the beginning with different characters who are just discovering all the technology and discovering one another. It’s exciting to watch these people coalesce into a group, figure out what they’re doing and how they’re going to do it.

If the new Ghostbusters were The Beatles, who would Holtzmann be? I think I would be a Ringo type. I hope I would be a Ringo type. Holtzmann is a nuclear engineer and she’s obsessed with perfecting the machines they use to trap ghosts. She’s a little out there, an interesting synthesis of incredibly geeky and also very cool. Someone who doesn’t give a crap what people think about her [McKinnon is pictured above with Ghostbusters co-star Leslie Jones (Patty Tolan), Melissa McCarthy (Abby Yates), and Kristen Wiig (Erin Gilbert)].

Is that similar to you?

Not so much the cool part for me, just very geeky.

Who is your favourite female scientist from film history?

Um…

Have there been any?

Regrettably, my friend, there has not been a tonne of those. We’re going to see a new wave. My favourite, there was a show in the United States called The X Files about two FBI agents, one of whom was also a doctor and scientist. Her name was Special Agent Dana Scully, and she is one of my favourite characters in all of fiction, so I drew on her.

They dealt with the paranormal as well. In a spooky situation, who would you call, the Ghostbusters or Mulder and Scully?

If you wanted a bit of levity you’d go with the Ghostbusters.

It has been 32 years since the original film. Now we have the internet and access to unlimited information, have we lost a bit of the mystery in life that Ghostbusters deal with? I’m a total Luddite so I feel like the proliferation of the internet has taken a lot away from us. But I love to look up stuff on Wikipedia, so I can’t complain too much. There’s still room for mystery. It’s still exciting to think, what if… I love horror. I used to get so incredibly terrified watching any kind of horror movie because I believed it all was true.

From horror films you’ve watched over the years, have any stuck in your mind?

Yes. I’ll never unsee The Omen.

Much like members of the original crew, like Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, you have worked on Saturday Night Live. What makes it such a good incubator for comedy talent?

You’re really thrown into the fire and asked to perform feats of comedy in such a short time. It’s very hard to come up with 90 minutes of material each week from nothing and having to do that for years on end. It’s probably the best training you could receive.

You often perform as Hillary Clinton, including a sketch where she appeared. Are you careful about not making fun of her too much since it would be terrible if she didn’t win?

I love her and I just want to do her justice. Whenever I do an impression I just want to create a character who’s loveable and fun to watch. That’s my main prerogative, no matter who it is.

Ghostbusters is out now in cinemas

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