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Who Plays Gozer In The Ghostbusters Franchise?

Among the many comedically genius things that the original "Ghostbusters" gives us, one of the best has to be the movie's take on the whole "ancient, destructive deity" trope. This is a portrayal that managed to balance menace and irreverence. The name Gozer — one such old, chaotic god — is mentioned several times in the lead-up to the final scenes of "Ghostbusters," as the titular team starts to finally figure out what it is that is lurking in Dana Barrett's (Sigourney Weaver) Central Park apartment building. 

During the film's climax, this ancient Sumerian god is indeed wreaking havoc on New York City ... in the form of a giant, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But prior to that, it appears in the form of a pale, dark-eyed, flat-haired woman, played by Yugoslavian actress and model Slavitza Jovan, with some kind of milky-translucent, almost exoskeleton-esque suit enveloping her body. She's still capable of significant destruction, though. After finding out that Ray (Dan Aykroyd) and the rest of the Ghostbusters aren't gods like her, she nearly sends them toppling off the building's roof. 

"I was doing lots of modeling, like runway shows and things like that," said Jovan to Entertainment Weekly about getting the part. "For my audition, I was just following my own ideas about how she needs to be, between the classical and the futuristic, a type of timelessness. I was doing this goddess type of thing, like she's strong and powerful, like she's an almost arrogant Roman empress. Regular humans are kind of beneath her."

Gozer was brought to life by three different actresses in Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Slavitza Jovan has 10 acting credits on IMDb, including one in 1999's "House on Haunted Hill" as the ghost of a malevolent nurse. She did not, however, return to play Gozer in 1989's "Ghostbusters II" — which didn't incorporate the old god angle at all — or for 2021's "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," in which Gozer returns, as "Afterlife" revives a lot of the mythos from the original movie. The haunted Oklahoma mine on which so much action is focused was once owned by Ivo Shandor, an acolyte of Gozer's mentioned in the first movie, and here played briefly by J.K. Simmons.

Meanwhile, the Gozer that is revived in "Afterlife" looks pretty much like the one that appears at the end of "Ghostbusters" (before turning into the Marshmallow Man, of course). It's got the same red eyes and pale skin, the same flat-top haircut. If the face looks familiar, that's because it's being played by Olivia Wilde, though her appearance is uncredited. 

Her face is just about the only part of this Gozer that is recognizable as Wilde's though. Gozer's weird, other-worldly movements are rendered by dancer and choreographer Emma Portner, who also appeared in the music video for Justin Bieber's "Life is Worth Living," and choreographed for an episode of "The Umbrella Academy,"

Gozer's distinctive voice in "Afterlife," however, came from neither Portner nor Olivia Wilde. It is still recognizable, however, as it was provided by iconic Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, probably best recognized for playing United Nations Secretary-General Chrisjen Avasarala in Amazon's "The Expanse."