McKenna Grace Explains Why Working With Dan Aykroyd Was The Highlight Of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

 Dan Aykroyd and McKenna Grace returning in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
Dan Aykroyd and McKenna Grace returning in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

Though young, McKenna Grace has appeared in plenty of great movies and TV shows and continues to build an impressive portfolio in the entertainment industry. Her reprisal of Phoebe Spengler in her latest film, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, serves as another major notch in her belt. One would image that there are plenty of great elements that come with working within the beloved horror/comedy franchise. Interestingly though, when the Haunting of Hill House alum spoke with CinemaBlend, she named working with Dan Aykroyd as a major highlight of producing this latest sequel -- and potentially a major milestone of entire career so far.

The Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire cast features a blend of characters, some of which are the fresh faces from 2021's Afterlife and the others being the OG proton pack-wielding heroes from New York. During an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend's Sean O'Connell, McKenna Grace, alongside her co-star Finn Wolfhard, delved into their experiences on set. Grace was particularly moved by the evolving relationship between Phoebe and Dan Aykroyd's Ray Stantz. She shared:

But personally, one of my favorite parts of this, of her storyline, this go around ad of a lot of things I got to shoot, was I really enjoyed her relationship with Ray. I really enjoyed getting to see those two interact. I think that he is, like, almost some of the things he does, it a little mentor, It’s somebody that she looks up to and the way he is so… He acts so proud of her and the way that he looks at her and Podcast. Sometimes me or Logan will say something in one of the scenes, and it’ll cut to Dan and it’ll just like show his reaction. And it’s just like, I don’t know. I think that it’s a really, really sweet getting to see him kind of take… Podcast and Phoebe around. I think that that was really sweet.

Without delving into too many specifics, the relationship that Ray forges with the youngest members of the titular team is very sweet. One also can't help but be envious of McKenna Grace and co-star Logan Kim (Podcast) over the time they were able to spend with Dan Aykroyd. The actor is indeed a legend, and only a select group of people can surely say they've gotten to share the screen with him.

The newest installment unfolds as a direct continuation of the narrative threads left dangling following Ghostbusters: Afterlife's ending. The storyline re-engages the audience with the adventures of the family unit, comprised of Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, and the age-defying Paul Rudd, as they relocate from Oklahoma to New York and embrace their duties as part of the ghost-busting team. This time, the group, bolstered by the foundational support of Dan Aykroyd’s Ray and Ernie Hudson's Winston Zeddemore, finds themselves up against an enigmatic new menace: a mysterious orb whose origins and powers are unknown.

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Paul Rudd in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Paul Rudd in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

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Despite the film’s dynamic storytelling and nostalgic callbacks, critical reception for Frozen Empire been relatively icy, with some reviews suggesting it might not be the best movie in the franchise. Nonetheless, it's worth noting that within this chorus of critiques, there are voices like our own Frozen Empire review here at CinemaBlend who see the value the film brings. Mike Reyes says the newest installment strikes a commendable balance, weaving together the best elements of the original movies with the fresh direction introduced in Afterlife. This blend of old and new, reverence and innovation, may polarize opinions but also underscores the franchise's ongoing evolution and willingness to explore uncharted territories while staying true to its ghost-hunting roots.

Some would argue that what we have her is an enthralling mix of humor, thrills, and a perfect balance of the classic and contemporary elements that define the franchise. It's also exciting is the McKenna Grace stepping into the lead role as Phoebe, and what certainly makes that sweeter is the mentorship that Dan Aykroyd (and his character) provide to the franchise's newbies.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is now playing in theaters. Be sure to check your local movie listings or explore our 2024 movie schedule to plan your next cinema outing.