Ernie Hudson Talks Winston’s Return in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Cast Reunion

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Following his brief cameo in 2021’s Ghostbusters: AfterlifeErnie Hudson had no reservations about playing Winston Zeddemore in a larger capacity in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

“I wasn’t jumping up and down to do it, but I do really love the fans,” Hudson said in an interview with Empire. “My only hesitation was, ‘I don’t want to be an afterthought.’ Like: ‘Oh, well, I guess we have to have Ernie.’ I wanted [Winston] to be fully engaged in the story. Which he absolutely is in this movie.”

Originating the character of Winston in 1984’s Ghostbusters, Hudson was cast after comedy superstar Eddie Murphy passed on the role. Though Winston became a beloved character by fans of the franchise, studio executives tried to sideline Hudson’s presence in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II to make stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and the late Harold Ramis the focus of the team.

In his return in Afterlife, however, director and co-writer Jason Reitman decided to re-establish Winston as a wealthy benefactor who reopens the business during the movie’s post-credits scene.

With Hudson reuniting with co-stars Murray, Aykroyd, and Annie Potts in Frozen Empire, the actor says there’s magic when it’s time to bust some ghosts.

“Honestly, it’s like family,” Hudson said. “We [the OGs] only get together when it’s time to suit up. [Laughs] With Bill [Murray], Danny [Aykroyd], and Annie [Potts] — it’s closer than friendship. It’s like we’ve been to war together. So, it was very special. I always get a little emotional when I see them.”

What is Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire about?

The official synopsis for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire reads: “In Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the Spengler family returns to where it all started – the iconic NYC firehouse – to team up with the original Ghostbusters, who’ve developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level. But when the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age.”

Directed by Gil Kenan, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire stars Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, and Paul Rudd reprising their roles from 2021’s Afterlife. Original Ghostbusters stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and William Atherton reprise their roles from the 1984 classic. Newcomers to the franchise include Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, and James Acaster.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire hits cinemas on March 22.