Ernie Hudson Recalls Being 'Pushed Aside' While Filming 'Ghostbusters'
The actor said the way his character was treated in the marketing of the film felt "deliberate."
Fans of Ghostbusters may look back at the film fondly, but its star struggles to.
During the Feb. 15 episode of The Howard Stern Show, Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore in the iconic '80s franchise, opened up about not being included in the marketing and seeing his role reduced in the script.
"The studio wasn’t [inclusive], and the studio continued not to be," Hudson, who was the only Black actor part of the ensemble, recalled. "So it made it very, very difficult because I was a part of it but then I very selectively was pushed aside…The original script, Winston was in the very beginning of the movie. By the time we got ready to shoot the movie, Winston came in halfway through the movie. All those things… It definitely felt deliberate."
He also pointed out that only Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis were featured on the poster for the 1984 film, making the message clear that his character wasn't as important as the rest of the team.
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"When the posters came out, I’m not on the poster. It took a long time. I went to the 30th anniversary release of the movie and all the posters are three guys," he said. "Now I know the fans see it differently, and I’m so thankful for the fans because the fans basically identified with Winston—especially young, I don’t want to say minority kids, but a lot of kids."
Reflecting back, Hudson said he's still trying not to take how he was treated in Ghostbusters personally.
"Anything bad, if you're African American in this country, anything bad happens to you, you can always blame it on [being] Black. You don’t want to go there. That’s the last thing I want to do," he explained. "I got nothing bad to say about anybody but it was hard. It took me 10 years to get past that and enjoy the movie and just embrace the movie. Ghostbusters was really hard to make peace with."
After the first Ghostbusters movie, he reprised his role as Winston in Ghostbusters II and made a cameo in 2021's Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Additionally, he is in negotiations to appear in the rebooted franchise's second movie, which is slated to arrive on December 20, 2023.
"Even now, we're negotiating a new movie that's gearing up to start shooting in March, and I'm like, ‘Guys, there’s a place… I’m not an add-on,'" he explained. "So if I'm going to do it, it has to make sense."
Besides his work in the Ghostbuster movies, Hudson is set to star as Coach Phil Peretti in sports comedy Champions, alongside Woody Harrelson, Kaitlin Olson, and Cheech Martin. The movie hits theaters on March 10.