Over the years Ernie Hudson has almost become known as “the other Ghostbuster.” Playing Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, Hudson is no doubt an integral part of the franchise’s legacy, but there’s no denying that he didn’t quite get the chance to shine the way the other actors did.
In a heartbreaking essay he penned over on Entertainment Weekly, Hudson bared all and opened up about his feelings on the snub this week, revealing that he still to this day wonders what could have been.
What you might not know is that Zeddemore was originally going to be a much more important character in Ghostbusters, though a last-minute script change reduced him to a bit player.
“When I originally got the script, the character of Winston was amazing, and I thought it would be career-changing,” wrote Hudson. “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.”
“The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script, and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, ‘If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.’ So that was pretty devastating.”
Though Hudson says he pleaded with Ivan Reitman to have more of a part in the movie, the director insisted there was nothing he could do about it. The decision to axe the character was already made, and there was no going back to that original script Hudson fell in love with.
“30 years later, I look back at the movie, and it works very well the way it is,” Hudson admits. “I think the character works with what he has to work with. But I’ve always felt like, ‘Man, if I could’ve played that original character…‘”
While Hudson says he’s incredibly thankful for the role, it’s that painful “what if?” that has haunted him over the years. He can’t help but feel that his career would’ve been far different had he been given the chance to play the Zeddemore that was originally written, and there’s no denying that he’s probably right about that.
“I’m still hoping that I’m going to get that one great role that I thought I had in the original Ghostbusters,” Hudson wrote at the end of the piece. “30 years later, I’m still looking.”