While “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” provided fans with plenty of delightful nods to the franchise’s pasts, the film made genuine efforts in creating a new, rich world full of characters who could stand toe-to-toe with their iconic predecessors. Finding that balance for Egon Spengler’s granddaughter and the film’s protagonist, Phoebe, was a hurdle that actress Mckenna Grace knew she’d have to overcome to make the film work. But she was more than up for the task.
In a 2021 Collider interview featuring Grace and “Afterlife” co-star Finn Wolfhard, the “Captain Marvel” actress shares how she kept up the franchise’s knack for comedy during the film’s making. “I tell a lot of jokes in the movie and every single take I told a different joke,” Grace explains. “Those are my jokes I came to set with … Jason’s [Reitman] favorites are in the movie.” While Phoebe’s constant joking could’ve proven annoying in lesser hands, Mckenna manages to imbue her comedy with the dry wit that fans have come to love from the franchise while bringing her own charm to it.
Finding the perfect person to take on such a part was a tall task for director Jason Reitman, but it was smooth sailing when Mckenna came on board. As the “Juno” director says in a behind the scenes featurette, “We needed a young woman who was genuinely brilliant. And that’s who Mckenna is.”