Now this is interesting to me. And I know a lot of people will cry about sour grapes and “appreciating what you have,” which is totally valid, but perspective is a funny thing. If you think you’re about to be the lead in a studio blockbuster (and have cut your quote in half to make it happen), only to find out the night before shooting starts that you’ve been reduced to a supporting role, well I imagine that’s more than frustrating.
Such is the case with Ernie Hudson, whose character of Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters was drastically altered at the last minute to be a much smaller part. I’m sure this change-up is already documented in the annals of this film’s history, but I don’t believe we’ve heard much about it firsthand from Hudson himself. Hit the jump for more on Ernie Hudson’s Ghostbusters legacy.
Hudson took to EW to write a very personal essay detailing the changes that were made at the last minute:
“When I originally got the script, the character of Winston was amazing and I thought it would be career-changing. 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.”
Hudson goes on to say that he doesn’t hold a grudge and he thinks the movie works, but recognizes that his role out of the four leads was somewhat marginalized:
“I was a single dad, and we were struggling to kind of hold on and pay the rent. I still needed to do this job. 30 years later, I look back at the movie and it works very well the way it is. 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…” Winston wasn’t included in the movie poster or the trailer and all that stuff. I felt, had the original character been in play at the beginning, that would’ve been different because it would’ve clearly been four guys.”
He does have a point. He’s barely even in the trailer.