The new Ghostbusters premieres tonight, and Kate McKinnon’s turn as nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann is already being hailed as the breakout performance of the film. Early reviews bill her character as a pansexual flirter who is turned on by “nearly everything.” (Our own Jesse Hassenger described her as “part eccentric handyman, part music video.”) And throughout the film she develops a particular fondness for Melissa McCarthy’s character. Yet the specific nature of Holtzmann’s sexuality remains unknown. Kind of.
During a recent interview with The Daily Beast’s Jen Yamato, director/co-writer Paul Feig was asked point blank whether Holtzmann is gay. Rather than answer the question, Feig asked Yamato, “What do you think?” When she responded in the affirmative, Feig reportedly smiled and gave a “silent nod.” He added, “I hate to be coy about it. But when you’re dealing with the studios and that kind of thing…” According to Yamato, Feig then shrugged “apologetically.”
The director went on to explain, “You know, Kate is who she is and I love the relationship between Kate and Melissa’s characters. 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.” (For the record, McKinnon herself is a lesbian.)
Feig’s reticence to confirm Holtzmann’s sexuality puts Star Trek Beyond’s decision to feature an openly gay Sulu into even sharper relief. Independence Day: Resurgence, meanwhile, also briefly features a gay couple, albeit with its own degree of coyness. But as this latest Ghostbusters wrinkle proves, those two films are very much the exception to the rule. Which mean that unless Feig winds up pulling a J.K. Rowling down the line and confirming the character’s sexuality after the fact, it looks like Jillian Holtzmann will be yet another Schrödinger’s lesbian.