Ivan Reitman – director and executive producer on both the Ghostbusters films – has decided to step down from his role as director for the proposed third film, deciding instead to take on a producer role. The decision comes in light of Harold Ramis’ death; he had been suffering from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis for several years and died last month.

Harold RamisHarold Ramis at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'I Love You, Man' in 2009

Ramis, who played Egon Spengler in the Ghostbusters movies, had a huge influence on many comedy actors and writers today. And it was his later work, most notably on, National Lampoon's Vacation, Groundhog Day and Analyze This, that really cemented his reputation as a comedy mastermind. And so profound was his impact on Reitman, that following his funeral, the director decided to re-think his Ghostbusters III role. 

More: Ghostbusters 3 to begin filming next year?

"A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career," Reitman told Deadline. "We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters.

Ivan ReitmanIvan Reitman will no longer direct Ghostbusters III

"When I came back from Harold's funeral, it was really moving and it made me think about a lot of things. I'd just finished directing Draft Day, which I'm really happy with and proud of. Working on a film that is smaller and more dramatic was so much fun and satisfying. I just finally met with [Sony's] Amy [Pascal] and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I'd been thinking about it for weeks, that I'd rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help but let's find a really good director and make it with him. So that's what we've agreed will happen."

Sony plans to shoot the new film in early 2015 in New York.

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