Kate McKinnon’s Ghostbusters Character Is Basically Gay but That’s Not Why It Won’t Be Released in China

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Kate McKinnon’s Ghostbusters character Jillian Holtzmann made a big impact on a lot of women from her first wink but turns out the context most of us understood can’t be confirmed by anyone involved in the film. In an unrelated story, the film will not be released in China.

Even as a professional pop culture writer it feels like everyone but me has seen Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters already. The premiere actually happened while I was in L.A. but it won’t be released to the masses until this weekend. That said, none of what will be said here is really spoiler territory.

The Daily Beast spoke to Feig about Holtzmann’s sexuality and the director replied with, appropriately enough, a bit of a wink:

But while McKinnon is SNL’s first openly lesbian cast member, Ghostbusters offers only hints on Holtzmann, who spends her free time shamelessly flirting with Erin. I ask Feig: Is Holtzmann gay?

He pauses, smiling. “What do you think?”

I’d like to think yes, I say. He offers a grinning, silent nod. “I hate to be coy about it,” he offers. “But when you’re dealing with the studios and that kind of thing…” He shrugs apologetically.

“You know, Kate is who she is and I love the relationship between Kate and Melissa’s characters,” he says. “I think it’s a very interesting, close relationship. If you know Kate at all she’s this kind of pansexual beast where it’s just like everybody who’s around her falls in love with her and she’s so loving to everybody she’s around. I wanted to let that come out in this character.”

So, she’s gay but no one can say that officially because Hollywood is still stuck in the dark ages.


Feig is right though – everyone has fallen in love with her.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed the film will not be released in China, one of the world’s biggest film markets. It wasn’t too long ago the country approved its first film release that focused on a gay relationship but this business with Holtzmann isn’t the reason the film won’t be getting a release there. So why then? Because ghosts.

China’s official censorship guidelines technically prohibit movies that “promote cults or superstition” — a holdover from the Communist Party’s secular ideology — and the country’s regulators occasionally have been known to use this obscure provision as rationale for banning films that feature ghosts or supernatural beings in a semi-realistic way (Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest suffered such a fate in 2006, thanks to its depictions of ghouls and cannibalism).

Ever since Paul Feig’s reboot went into production, industry watchers have wondered what stance China’s film authorities might take on the film.

Speculation only increased this Spring, when it was revealed that the Chinese character for “ghost” had been removed from the reboot’s Chinese title, even though it appears in the local names for the original films.

The original Bill Murray-starring 1984 classic, which never screened theatrically in China, was translated as “捉鬼敢死队,” five characters literally meaning “Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team.” The sequels followed suit. The reboot, however, has been reworked as “超能敢死队,” meaning “Super Power Dare Die Team.”

However, THR also writes: “Sony isn’t commenting, but a Hollywood source with knowledge of the situation says the film hasn’t been officially submitted for approval by Chinese regulators.” And a Chinese executive told them censorship wasn’t even the issue. “Most of the Chinese audience didn’t see the first and second movies,” they said, “so they don’t think there’s much market for it here.”

4 Responses to “Kate McKinnon’s Ghostbusters Character Is Basically Gay but That’s Not Why It Won’t Be Released in China”

  1. VindicaSean says:

    I’ve already told my wife– first girl Ghostbuster I see this Halloween gets the full bowl in her pillow case.

    We may need a great lot of candy, this year.

  2. Oh my god, people are going to be buying the toys from Wal-Mart just to burn them. “Ain’t no daughter of mine gonna be playin’ with no les-bean doll.”

    • Nerdy McBeardfacé says:

      But, by virtue of capitalism, that will only result in more Holtzmann toys? Right?

  3. I’d be more excited for this if it was about Jillian Holtzmann as THE Ghostbuster.