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Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally makes Winston a ‘complete character’, says Ernie Hudson

February 19th, 2021 by Marc Comments

As we all sit praying that Ghostbusters Afterlife actually sees release this November after several delays due to that Damned Virus, original star Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore, has been chatting about how his character finally gets the due he deserves.

On a recent episode of the Inside of You Podcast with Michael Rosenbaum, Hudson talked about how he was originally shortchanged in the original movie but finally, thanks to Jason Reitman, that has all been rectifed.

Fans of Ghostbusters will likely know that originally Winston was a five-year US Air Force Air Police Captain – fans of the IDW comics will know that this became a big part of Winston in those stories – but this was all done away with in the first movie once original choice Eddie Murphy pulled out, leaving the character of Winston, who was originally a founding member of the team, not appearing until well into the story.

“We don’t know a damn thing about Winston,” Hudson says, talking about the character when he eventually turns up.

“With Bill Murray, we see him in his little studio, or Danny in his little lab, we get a sense of what is outside of what we’re seeing. But with Winston, he’s just there. He just pops up.”

Hudson goes on to explain how much the story was paired back on him in the movie: “In the beginning, there was a backstory [but] just before we started shooting, they wrote him out.”

In an interview we had with Hudson a few years ago he discusses how he didn’t find out how much of his story was cut until he turned up to shoot –  you watch that below.

“Basically, instead of coming in page eight, he came in at page 68. All the backstory where I come in and we talk about who I am and I’m auditioning and explaining what I do, he just says, ‘If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.’ I find that a funny line, but you don’t get to know who this guy is,” Hudson tells Rosenbaum.

“It’s a funny bit, but unfortunately, it doesn’t give you a lot to play. So as an actor, you have to bring all of that with you, and hopefully, people will see it.”

It’s easy to see why Hudson feels hard-done-by here and, indeed, he addresses how the original posters and materials for the movie only focused on Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd: “I think the studio probably worked overtime to try and make sure that the Ghostbusters were always thought of as three guys.

“I think it’s the fans — and I really appreciate the fans who really embraced the character — and at one point Winston was one of the best-selling dolls they had, and they were surprised. I think that’s because fans really loved the character.”

This is indeed true – Ghostbusters was one of the first ever movies I became utterly obsessed with and, truth be told, to this day I still am and I never, ever thought of them as a three-man team – to me they were always a foursome. Even as a kid I always just saw the beginning of the movie as the part where we’re waiting for Winston to round out the team. And yes, in later years, the posters did annoy me when I realised how Winston was under-represented in the promo materials.

However, like in the comics from IDW, we’re hearing rumours that in Afterlife Winston will have his doctorate and now stands on an even footing with the rest of the boys in grey – exactly as it should be.

Yep!” says Hudson, “Yep, thanks to Jason Reitman. Winston is definitely a complete character.”

While it’s not confirmed Winston is a doctor in the movie like Peter, Egon and Ray, I certainly hope he is. It’s no more than Winston and, more importantly, Ernie Hudson deserves.

Check out our interview with Hudson where we talk his original hopes for Ghostbusters III and more:

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….