Ernie Hudson knows who he’s going to call when it comes to how he was treated in the “Ghostbusters” franchise.
Hudson, who starred alongside Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Harold Ramis in the classic sci-fi film, revealed during “The Howard Stern Show” that the studio was not “inclusive” of his character, Winston Zeddemore, in marketing materials.
“I was the guy who was brought in, and so finding my place in the middle of that — and they were all welcoming and inclusive,” Hudson recalled of joining the cast. “The studio wasn’t, and the studio continued not to be. So it made it very, very difficult because I was a part of it but then I very selectively was pushed aside.”
“Ghostbusters” was produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures, with Ivan Reitman directing.
“Ivan was really, really a brilliant man and I have just so much love and appreciation for him,” Hudson said, however noting that the script changed after he was brought on board. “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.”
Hudson continued, “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. 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.”
The “Quantum Leap” star added, “It wasn’t an easy road. It was probably the most difficult movie I ever did just from the psychological perspective…And I’m still not trying to take it personally. Anything bad, if you’re African American in this country, anything bad happens to you, you can always blame it on because I’m Black. You don’t want to go there. That’s the last thing I want to do. 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 it.”
Even starring in a blockbuster film like “Ghostbusters” did not help Hudson’s career immediately, he shared.
“When you start out in the business, I was always told it’s almost impossible to succeed. But if you get in a major movie from a major studio and it comes out and it opens number one, it will change your career,” Hudson said. “Well, ‘Ghostbusters’ didn’t do any of that for me. I was working pretty nonstop, I did ‘Ghostbusters,’ and it was two and a half years before I got another movie.”
Hudson reprised his role for 1989 sequel “Ghostbusters II” and is also being approached to appear in a franchise reboot. “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,'” Hudson said. “So if I’m going to do it, it has to make sense.”