'Ghostbusters' perfect just the way it is, Ernie Hudson says

Ernie Hudson talks about Ghostbusters in the Crackle documentary Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Ernie Hudson talks about "Ghostbusters" in the Crackle documentary "Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, June 18 (UPI) -- Fans of Ghostbusters have been around since the original film's release in 1984, while new fans are born every year. Those fans will learn even more about the film when the documentary Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters premieres on the Crackle streaming service Thursday.

Named after The Bus Boys' song from the film, Cleanin' Up the Town features interviews with lead actors Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and even the late Harold Ramis, who died in 2014.


Director Anthony Bueno and producer Claire Bueno have been conducting interviews with people involved with Ghostbusters for 10 years.

Aykroyd and Ramis co-wrote the film about a trio of scientists who discover paranormal activity in New York City. They open a business to exterminate ghosts. Hudson plays Winston Zeddemore, a fourth ghostbuster they hire.

In his Cleanin' Up the Town interview, Hudson revealed that he originally had a larger role in the film. He said Zeddemore originally entered the movie in the beginning, rather than halfway through, as he does now. Hudson told UPI some of Zeddemore's backstory that was deleted in the rewrite.


"He had been in the Air Force and had been in demolitions," Hudson told UPI in a phone interview Tuesday. "He came in around page 10 as opposed to page 60-whatever."

Zeddemore returned for the sequel, 1989's Ghostbusters II. Hudson had a cameo in the 2016 Ghostbusters remake as a different character and returns as Zeddemore in the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

With Ghostbusters providing him 36 years and counting of recognition, Hudson developed an appreciation for his role in the film.

"It's a perfect film just the way it is," he said.

Hudson said he had a sense of deja vu in the sequel, though. Although Zeddemore is a full-fledged ghostbuster at the beginning of that movie, Hudson found that Zeddemore had no more screen time than he did in the first movie.

"My character, for whatever reason -- and it's never been explained to me -- disappears," Hudson said. "He doesn't come back until -- like the first movie -- halfway through the movie."

Whatever plotlines tend to separate Zeddemore from Venkman (Murray), Stanz (Aykroyd) and Egon (Ramis), time has proven to Hudson that the four ghostbusters were equal.

"I also have to say how much I appreciate the fans who really embraced the Winston characters," Hudson said. "I've never felt, when it came to fans, that he was any less part of the team."


Director Ivan Reitman, who also appears in Cleanin' Up the Town, has also fought for Zeddemore over the years. When Universal Studios was developing a Ghosbusters attraction, Reitman insisted that the company include Zeddemore.

"The first version of it was only three guys," Hudson said. "Ivan saw it and said, 'Wait a minute, guys. One problem is there are four ghostbusters.'"

After a long career in film and television, Hudson can feel equal to his fellow ghosbusters because of his experience.

When he joined the cast in 1984, Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis already were movie stars. In 1984, Hudson was coming from the theater. But he also had appeared on episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team, Fantasy Island and The Incredible Hulk and smaller roles in movies like The Main Event and Two of a Kind.

Hudson said he bonded with Ramis behind the scenes. While Hudson was dealing with sudden script changes, and keeping up with comedy icons, Ramis taught him lessons Hudson said he heeded ever since.

"Finding my place at that table, Harold was always the calming voice," Ramis said. "I learned by watching him how you deal with whatever you're going through and still show up and give 100 percent on the set."


The last time all four ghostbusters were together occurred for 1989's Ghostbusters II, Hudson said. Three of them reunite with Weaver and Potts in Afterlife. Despite the loss of Ramis, the reunion in the upcoming movie was profound for Hudson.

"That was a real spiritual experience for me," Ramis said. "We share this thing in common, this phenomenon. In fact, in one of the last conversations I had with Harold, we were all hoping to get together and make another one, but it just never happened."

Hudson said he's seen his co-stars separately throughout the years. Being together again reinforced to him that Ghostbusters is a family.

"To be with Bill, Dan, Sigourney and Annie Potts, that was really very, very special," Hudson said. "It felt like a family that hadn't been together for a very, very long time."

Hudson has been in other popular movies like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, The Crow, and Miss Congeniality. He currently appears on three TV series: L.A.'s Finest, Grace & Frankie and The Family Business.

Even if Ghostbusters had not remained a pop culture institution for decades, Hudson imagines he'd still be proud of it.

"I'm sure, no matter what happened with the movie, I would have looked back on it in a very fond way," he said.


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