Friday, May 27, 2022

Ernie Hudson: ‘Ghostbusters’ Star Talks Film Reboot & Last Conversation with Brandon Lee [Exclusive]

Ernie+Hudson*Actor Ernie Hudson has a career that spans three decades and his varied resume boasts over 200 credits, most notably his roles as Winston Zeddemore in the “Ghostbusters film series, Sergeant Albrecht in “The Crow,” and Warden Leo Glynn on HBO’s incredible hit drama “Oz.”

“Ghostbusters” has been a highlight in Hudson’s career, but he has previously spoken out about how the experience is also marred with complicated emotions. He penned a piece for US Weekly earlier this year about his bittersweet relationship with the original film. His write-up explains how Winston’s part was juicer in the original script, but got reduced to allow Bill Murray to shine. Ernie believes had the original character been in play as he was written, it would’ve impacted his career in a different way.

EUR/Electronic Urban Report chatted with Hudson ahead of the release of the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot, and the veteran performer explained that he had been hoping Hollywood would revisit the franchise. He also opened up about the crucial lesson he learned while working on the original film — one that has allowed him to survive over thirty years in the entertainment business.

“I’ve been hoping for a number of years that we would be able to move forward with another production and for whatever reason, that I do not understand, we never did,” said Ernie. “But I’ve seen the fans still grow in numbers and the fans still hoping that something would happen.”

Ernie said the all-female touch wasn’t how he imagined the franchise reboot, “but I was glad that they did something, and it was great to see the final result.”

He added: “I love the camaraderie that the women have. I like Leslie Jones in the movie. I haven’t always appreciated her comedy but I will say that she’s very good in the film. It was great to see the franchise move froward and hopefully if this movie is successful it will lead to other movies. Maybe in that universe I’ll get a real job.”

The “Ghostbusters” reboot was directed by Paul Feig and stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. It also features a new version of the Ghostbusters theme by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott. The film opens in theaters July 15.

Ernie+Hudson

Many longtime fans are blasting this all-female cast. Was there a part of you that felt these ladies had some big shoes to fill?

EH: No I didn’t think that. Women can be funny, but I think we were the ones that people connected to, especially a lot of young boys. A lot of kids grew up with it. It was hard for them to imagine anybody stepping in without somehow including the original cast and maybe have us pass off the torch. I think they wanted that for so long, but then they found out something was going to happen and it’s going to be women. It’s going to be something totally different, and I think fans didn’t want totally different. So I wasn’t surprised at the reaction. I think that’s going to stay there until the movie proves itself. The amazing thing about the original ‘Ghostbusters’ is it plays to every demographic. Somehow it was shared with every generation.

I was asked before it was definite, that there was a rumor that it was all girls and what did I think about that. I made the joke, if it’s all girls, it didn’t sound like there was a job in it for me.  Which I thought was kind of funny, but it wasn’t taken funny. It got out that I didn’t like the idea and that was further from the truth. I’m a fan of all these women and I think in some ways it’s probably easier having women than having some new guys coming in because they really would’ve been compared.

READ RELATED STORY: Nas Speaks on His ‘Ghostbusters’ Affiliated Clothing Line (EUR Exclusive)

In the original film, there’s cigarette smoking all throughout. Do you feel the movie glorified the act of smoking to appeal to kids, or was it simply the sexy thing to depict adults doing in films at that time?

EH: I remember I did a movie called ‘The Crow’ and the character smoked in the movie, and I didn’t smoke and I didn’t want to smoke. So me and the director had this big long fight over it and finally I agreed to smoke in the movie as long as at some point in the movie you have the character declare that he’s going to quit. So we agreed on that. In the movie we had him gagging on the cigarettes.

But back during the ‘Ghostbusters’ time and before, it was cool. What is cool? Cool was learning how to talk to women and to have a cigarette was the cool thing, or at least we thought of it that way. I also think the guys, like Danny Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who wrote the movie, those guys smoked. I didn’t smoke at the time, but that was the time and there were a lot of things that we thought were cool that we now realize, it’s not cool. There are other ways to talk to women without having a pack of cigarettes.

image via Twitter
image via Twitter

Speaking of “The Crow,” can you tell me what your last conversation with Brandon Lee was about?

EH: My last conversant with Brandon Lee was dinner with him. My brother-in-law had just died and he was just being supportive to my wife. We were flying back the next day to the service, and he and I had a discussion about my career because I was so frustrated that I had done ‘Ghostbusters’ and I was kinda depressed, and he was encouraging me to hang in there and using his career as an example, and the next thing, he’s gone. That was the last conversation I had with Brandon. [He] was trying to encourage me because I was bummed out about a number of things. He was a great guy. I had known him for 8 years before, and that was our last conversation.

You previously said that you have survived over 30 years in this business because of what you learned on “Ghostbusters.” What specifically did you takeaway from the film that has been advantageous to your professional and personal life?

EH: As I get older and I’ve gotten to a different place — and in recognizing that I’m in a different place — I’m finding things that I want to do that are interesting to me, that’s the driving force now. After ‘Ghostbusters,’ it actually went the other way because I thought that after being in a big studio movie, that was a big hit, I was going to get all this work, and it went just the opposite. I didn’t get work, and I was a single dad with two kids. I had to put off what I wanted to do because I had to go out and get a job. I can’t count on just because I’m in a movie that all of a sudden things are going to open up. Cause I really thought that would happen. I’m in a big movie, the movie is a big hit and I’m gonna work. And my world was rocked because that did not happen.

My grandmother said, ‘Trust no man.’ You don’t put your trust in people even when they’re promising you the world. In Hollywood, they promise you everything. I don’t trust in that. I trust in the Universe — God, whatever you want to call it — that it will deliver to me according to my belief, and that’s what carried me through. I think had ‘Ghostbusters’ opened up that door, it would’ve been a different thing. That was the real reality of ‘Ghostbusters.’ And it’s all good. It worked out fine. But that’s where I was.

The “Ghostbusters” reboot arrives July 15.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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