What’s your cocktail of choice?
I call it a Long Island Railroad Martini — you could get it in 1955 if you were a Madison Avenue executive in a grey flannel suit, riding into Manhattan. At 11 in the morning, you could get a martini. How civilised. Long Island Railroad just took alcohol off their trains, I’m sad to see.
What are you most grateful for, career-wise?
The people I worked with. [Director/producer] Ivan Reitman, Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Robert Redford, Sydney Poitier, Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Julianne Moore, Laura Linney, Gillian Anderson. Belushi, in his time.
Do you still miss John Belushi?
Every day. I go to the House of Blues nightclubs — he would have just loved it. I’ve got concerts coming up with Jimmy Belushi, John’s brother. We play all around North America.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most?
The Coneheads, no doubt about it. I feel alien. I relate to that sense of alienation and isolation in a vicious, violent world. I also relate to the higher power of the alien, to try to use that for the better.
What did you think of the all-female Ghostbusters?
I thought it was great, the women were fantastic, the comedy solid, I think it just cost too much. The director did not take advice from Ivan or myself. It’s too bad because I’d say there’s less chance of doing another live-action one now.
So you don’t think there’s a future for the franchise?
Well, there’s a future — it’s so strong. But I don’t see Sony writing a cheque for the next couple of years.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I do. Well, I believe in entities that are still here that haven’t crossed over, I believe in the afterlife. I believe in the survival of consciousness after death, that you can reach back to those who love you and you can summon them.
Any experiences yourself?
With mediumship, yes, not so much with entities and spirits. I’ve had a few noises and things that are unexplained but no sightings. I’ve had more impressive encounters with mediums who’ve referenced people I knew, like a guy from high school who was killed in a car accident. How would a medium know about that guy, who was not famous and not written about? I’d never mentioned him before.
Have you ever tried mediumship?
No. You can be trained to do it but I have no inherent gift.
Ever had any telepathic experiences, like when you know who’s going to ring?
Yeah, everybody does. I got in an elevator at NBC, I was going to the eighth floor and I pushed two and the woman pushed eight — we’d picked each other’s floors. She said, ‘You pushed my floor!’ and I said, ‘You pushed mine!’ It was like we cross-circuited.
Have you always been interested in the paranormal?
Well, my family was into this research, my great-grandfather was a spiritualist, so I grew up with it. It’s my family business, essentially [laughs]. That’s why we wrote Ghostbusters, it’s from these beliefs and this conviction.
Do you think there are aliens on earth?
No doubt about it. Baron Hill-Norton was at the Ministy of Defence here in England and said there are 23 types that he’d been exposed to in his research, 23 types of vessels coming and going like taxis. Get on the website Mutual UFO Network — every day people send in photos.
That’s a yes, then.
Yep. We’ve got to get past the fact of whether it’s real or not. Yes, it’s real. Now how do you use that knowledge? These beings are here — why? What lesson are they giving us? How can we interact more positively? Benefit the planet a little better to be less selfish and less material? Many people who’ve interacted directly with these beings get this message. They’re there to send mankind a lesson to be a better steward of the planet.
Sounds like a lesson we could use at the moment…
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