Movies & TV / Columns

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Star Mckenna Grace on Learning She Got the Lead Role, the Long Wait for the Film’s Release, and Seeing Fan Art for Phoebe

November 19, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Mckenna Grace

After multiple delays, the long-awaited Ghostubsters: Afterlife finally hits theaters this week. The film stars Mckenna Grace (Captain Marvel, Gifted, Annabelle Comes Home) as a young aspiring scientist who discovers her past connection to the original Ghostbusters. Fans and moviegoers will finally get to see the journey of Mckenna Grace’s Phoebe unfold after she first shot the movie over two years ago. 411mania recently had the chance to sit down with Mckenna and speak with her for an exclusive interview, where she discussed finding out she landed the role, one of Phoebe’s unique personality quirks, those adorable Mini-Pufts and more:

Ghostbusters Afterlife - Mckenna Grace and Paul Rudd

Mr. Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE.

Jeffrey Harris: After the extended wait, how are you feeling now that the movie is finally getting released?

Mckenna Grace: It’s insane since we shot it two years ago. Isn’t that crazy? It was supposed to come out in June 202. Then, it was is supposed to come out in November 2020. Then, it was supposed come out in June 2021. Now, it’s finally coming out in November 2021. So, I mean, it’s really weird. I feel like everything took so long to happen. But now that it’s finally happening, everything happened so quick.

Jeffrey Harris: This story is really Phoebe’s journey, and Phoebe discovering her heritage. How special is it for you knowing that you get to bring this character to life and it’s about about her journey of discovery?

Mckenna Grace: I mean, it’s really special. I love playing Phoebe. I think she’s probably, if not my favorite, one of my favorite characters I’ve ever played. And I mean, being able to tell her story and the Spengler story and being able to be part of a Ghostbusters film, in general, it was really cool. I mean being able to work with Jason [Reitman] to create that story and that character was something that I’ll never forget. All of it was really special to me, and I’m honored to have been able to done it — to do it. I don’t know. I’m running on, like, three hours of sleep. I’m sorry.

Jeffrey Harris: I think one of my favorite things about Phoebe is that she likes to tell jokes. Did you get to come up with any of your own jokes for Phoebe? And do you have a favorite one?

Mckenna Grace: Yeah, all of those jokes were mine. We had joke books, and every single take that I did, I told a different joke. So, those were just the favorites that ended up in the film. But yeah, I mean, I told a ton of different jokes on that set, but I mean, all I love to be watching it and and turn to look at my friends, “I came up with all those jokes that Phoebe says!” It was so fun. I think that my favorite might be the, “So a grasshopper walks into a bar, and the bartender goes, ‘We have a drink named after you!’ The grasshopper goes, ‘You have a drink named Steve?!'” I think that one might be one of my favorites, and the whale one. … I think that Phoebe is a very funny person, so I like all the jokes.

Jeffrey Harris: So, take us back to over two years ago when you made this movie. What were you doing when you found out that you were going to be a Ghostbuster?

Mckenna Grace: I was actually shooting reshoots on Annabelle Comes Home in Atlanta. I was in my hotel room, and I just hopped on a zoom with Jason. I thought that — Mr. Jason. Sorry, don’t call adults by their first names, Mckenna. Texas manners. But I hopped on a Zoom with Mr. Jason, and I thought that I was just on a Zoom to talk about the role. And then I…he was like, “Som how bad do you want to be a Ghostbuster?” And I didn’t realize that was like his way of asking me if I was ready to have the part, but I didn’t understand that. I went, “More than anything!” And he goes, “So, do you want to be a Ghostbuster?” I went, “So bad, you don’t understand!” And my mom was like in the other room, and she heard that, and she runs into room. She’s like trying to call [out to me] so that the Zoom camera can’t see her. And she’s like, “Mckenna! Oh my God, Mckenna!” Because I didn’t understand what he was asking. It took me like three minutes, and then he goes, “So are you ready to start shooting?” I went, “Oh, wait! Oh my God!” And then I started crying. It was so wild.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife - Mckenna Grace

Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Podcast (Logan Kim) in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE.

Jeffrey Harris: After you got started were there ever days where you were silently screaming on the inside and had to pinch yourself to make sure you weren’t dreaming?

Mckenna Grace: Yeah. Every single day that I went on set, every single day I was on set, it was like a dream. I was constantly pinching myself. Even now still, I’m like, “Wow. Is this real?” I mean, I just went to the premiere last night. Now, the film’s finally coming out on Friday. I ask myself every single day asking, you know, is this real? I can’t believe that this is my life, and especially with how much I love the original films. It’s crazy to see, but absolutely, every single day, I was pinching myself.

Jeffrey Harris: Have your received your action figure yet?

Mckenna Grace: I did! I actually just got a poster of fan art as well. And that’s the coolest thing to me. And then yesterday at the premiere, I got to meet the person who created the fan art, and it’s so cool to me because I’ve never had anything similar to this. I know that Finn [Wolfhard] — Finn! This ain’t his first action figure/fan art rodeo with Stranger Things and It and whatnot. But I mean, this is my first time being a part of anything similar to this. It’s really cool for me to see because I’ve never really seen any fan art out of myself. I’ve never seen an action figure, a cosplay. I mean, I’ll start crying the time that I see someone dressed as Phoebe. It means so much to me.

Jeffrey Harris: When you’re using the neutrona wand prop, do you want to do the proper operations set up, so it’s all very authentic?

Mckenna Grace: Oh yeah. Mr. Jason is very, very particular and in depth with all of that. I remember we couldn’t find the correct ribbon cable for the proton pack. So we had to make sure that we have the correct ribbon cable for the fans. But it was like a really hard to get ribbon cable. So we had to make it or something. I don’t even know, but he was always very specific with how everything was done. I mean, there was a certain way to hold the proton pack. There was a certain like stance that he had me learn how to do for the [film]. It was the ghost busting stance. He was very specific about everything, and that’s one of the things that I love about him. He knew exactly what he wanted.

Jeffrey Harris: What are your thoughts on the Mini-Pufts?

Mckenna Grace: Oh, I love them. I love them. They’re so cute. They’re adorable. I have like a TikTok of some BTS Mini-Puft stuff that I recorded back in 2019 that I cannot wait to post it whenever the film comes out, but it has a bunch of, you know, spoilery type things in there.

Thank you to Mckenna Grace for taking the time to speak with us. Ghostbusters: Afterlife hits theaters on Friday, November 19. You can check out my official review of the film HERE.