Ghostbusters has been an undeniable highlight in Ernie Hudson’s long, varied, and still-rolling career. But the experience of playing Winston Zeddemore—the fourth Ghostbuster, for lack of a better title—is also riddled with complicated emotions. Co-starring in one of the greatest comedies in movie history gave Hudson cinematic immortality—but it also lingers in his mind as a painful what-if.
On the film’s 30th anniversary, the 68-year-old actor writes about his bittersweet relationship with a beloved franchise.
I look back on Ghostbusters in a very fun way, but it’s got so many mixed feelings and emotions attached to it. When I originally got the script, the character of Winston was amazing and I thought it would be career-changing. The character came in right at the very beginning of the movie and had an elaborate background: he was an Air Force major something, a demolitions guy. It was great.
Now I’ve heard, over the years, that the part had been written for Eddie Murphy—all of which Ivan Reitman says is not true. But it was a bigger part, and Winston was there all the way through the movie. After a long audition process, I finally got the part and made the awful mistake of letting it be known that I really, really wanted it. In Hollywood in those days, you set your quote—so if anybody calls about wanting to work with you, they had to meet your quote. I had just worked with Columbia on Spacehunter, and my quote was pretty decent. For Ghostbusters, they came in at only half of my quote, because they said this role was going to make my career. I said to my agent, “I don’t care. Just take it, because I believe that.” So we go to New York and we rehearse for three weeks or whatever and I’m ready to roll.
The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. READ FULL STORY