Ernie Hudson happy to be back home in NYC for 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'

Ernie Hudson's "Ghostbusters: Frozen Ampire" opens Friday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 5 | Ernie Hudson's "Ghostbusters: Frozen Ampire" opens Friday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) -- Ernie Hudson says he's happy the Ghostbusters franchise moved back to its Big Apple origins in the latest chapter, Frozen Empire, after its one-movie side trip to Oklahoma in 2021's Afterlife.

Opening in theaters Friday, the third sequel in the supernatural comedy series, which dates to 1984, sees the titular team -- Hudson's Winston, Bill Murray's Peter, Dan Aykroyd's Ray and Annie Potts' Janine -- again working out of a Manhattan firehouse and trying to save New York from catastrophic hauntings.


This time around, they have help from their late friend Egon's family, including his daughter, Callie (Carrie Coon), son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), daughter Phoebe (Mckenzie Grace) and Callie's boyfriend Gary, (Paul Rudd). Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt also are onboard to steal some scenes.

"It's almost like being back home," Hudson, 78, told UPI in a recent phone interview.


"To have another installment is great. I really loved this script. I think it's a little bit closer to the original," said the Los Angeles actor, whose real-life grandchildren live in New York. "There are things that can happen in New York that can't happen anywhere else. That's the spirit."

Since the city is something of a gateway, he added, evil must be stopped there.

"If it comes and takes over New York, there is no hope for the rest of the world," Hudson said. "At its heart, New York is still New York. It's the greatest city on the planet. At least, that's what we tell ourselves."

Back for the first time since the original film is Walter (William Atherton), the Ghostbusters' nemesis from the Environmental Protection Agency, now a grudge-holding mayor who still disapproves of the heroes' tactics that have been known to destroy buildings and property.

Despite the friction between their characters on screen, Hudson said he was eager to reunite with his "good friend" Atherton.

"I just loved him in the first movie. His underwear is just a little bit too tight. He's still that same charming guy, and he has a bone to pick with the Ghostbusters because his life is so turned upside down. He comes in with an attitude," Hudson added. "But even he has to admit [that] without us, everything is lost."


Hudson said he was pleased to see all of the veteran Ghostbusters cast members -- most of whom are in their 70s -- still sharp and hilarious after so many years.

"I think I'm older than all the guys -- including Bill Atherton -- but when I see guys of a certain age show up on set and they are on point, it makes me kind of proud," he said.

Since there was a 32-year gap between 1989's Ghostbusters 2 and Afterlife, Hudson said he didn't know if he would ever get to suit up again.

"So much time had passed," he said. "I didn't think that movie would ever happen."

Although Hudson, Murray and Aykroyd played pivotal supporting roles in Afterlife, that movie focused more on introducing the family of Egon (the late Harold Ramis), who were having their own adventures in the American Southwest.

The trio, along with Potts, are front and center again in Frozen Empire.

"This has been a part of my life for 40 years. It's as much 'me' as anything," said Hudson, who added that he never gets tired of hearing fans quoting lines of dialogue to him or even showing off their tattoos memorializing the movie.


"It was great just to carry on the story, and I think everybody -- I know I am -- is amazed that, after all these years, the fans have embraced and brought it to their families and shared it with their children and grandchildren," he added. "I had a lot of fun making it and, hopefully, the fans will love it."

Hudson said he wants the franchise to continue, since there is no shortage of ghost stories in the world.

"Hopefully, if this does well, we can move out into other stories," he said. "I'd love to see it move into other territories and communities. Hopefully, this will be the start of some other things, but, if not, then I'm happy to have been a part of what we have."

As much fun as Hudson had making Afterlife and Frozen Empire, he missed his Ramis, who was a stabilizing force in the first two movies. He died in 2014 at the age of 69.

"I can't think of Ghostbusters without thinking of Harold. His imprint is on everything," Hudson said.

"Harold was always the magnet that pulled everyone together," he added. "There were times when it seemed like everyone was going to fly off. For me, he was always that steady, common-sense, voice of reason."


Hudson described the new cast members as "amazing," specifically calling Nanjiani "adorable and funny" and saying he has been a fan of Rudd's for years.

"He is so unassuming and yet so down to Earth and good at what he does," Hudson said. "It's nice to see the Ghostbusters expand."

Paul Rudd, Bill Murray attend 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' premiere

Bill Murray (L) and Paul Rudd arrive on the red carpet at the premiere of "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on March 14, 2024 in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

While the original Ghostbusters turns 40 this year, Hudson has another iconic film celebrating a major milestone in 2024.

The dark romance-revenge drama, The Crow, was released in 1994.

Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name, the film's bittersweet cult-classic status was amplified by the death of its leading man Brandon Lee, who was killed during an on-set production mishap.

Hudson played Detroit police detective Daryl, who tried to help bring to justice the thugs who murdered Lee's character Eric and his fiancee Shelly (Sofia Shinis).

The film was followed by several sequels and even a TV series with different casts.

A remake starring Bill Skarsgard and FKA Twigs is set for release on June 7.

Hudson said The Crow will always have a special place in his heart.

"Ghostbusters crossed generations. Little kids like it. Old people like it. But The Crow? There is a certain time of life when people discover it and they're going through whatever and they embrace the movie," Hudson said, referring to teens and young adults.


"I'm very proud of the movie, but, on the other hand, Brandon died making the movie," he added. "It's hard for me to think about the movie without thinking about him and how he was so talented and had so much promise. There's so many mixed feelings."

Hudson said he has been approached to reprise his role from the film in other iterations and he emphasized he doesn't begrudge other imaginings, but he hasn't wanted to revisit that world.

"Brandon was the Crow," Hudson said.

"I think Brandon would have been very proud of the movie," he added. "I'm happy people love the movie."

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