‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ star explains the pressures of living up to the original

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Columbia Pictures

Critics and fans may have vastly different opinions on how good of a movie Ghostbusters: Afterlife is, but one thing everyone appears to agree on is that McKenna Grace’s Phoebe is the undoubted star of the show.

The actress may only be 15 years old, but she’s racked up an impressive filmography already that’s seen her work with some of the biggest names in the business, whether it’s appearing opposite Chris Evans in Gifted, playing a young Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel, lending support in Netflix phenomenon The Haunting of Hill House or showing up in James Wan’s Malignant.

However, despite experiencing such vast success already, Grace admitted in an interview with Collider that the pressures of following in the footsteps of the late Harold Ramis to become the de facto Egon in Afterlife brought plenty of pressure.

“The thing is, Phoebe’s not an imitation of Egon. As much as she’s a Spengler – and by looking at her you can tell, she’s very reminiscent of the old Ghostbusters. She has the Egon feel down to the way that she talks and the way that her hair looks, her glasses. She seems like him, but at the same time, she’s still her own character. It was a little bit scary to try and live up to Egon Spengler, but then I realized I don’t have to because we’re creating a different character. She might be related in looks and blood, but we wanted to be able to create something that’s newer but it still has that authentic old Ghostbusters feel that gives you that kind of nostalgia.”

The hair and glasses alone were enough to make it clear from the first time we saw any footage from Ghostbusters: Afterlife that Phoebe was a descendant of the mold and fungus enthusiast, and her accomplished performance that brought heart and humor to the story has set her up nicely as the face of the franchise, which is poised to find a new lease of life.