There's something to be said about the evolution of Winston Zeddemore, played by Ernie Hudson in the Ghostbusters franchise. When Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis originally conceived the character, it was written with actor-comedian Eddie Murphy in mind. After original plans fell through, the part was scaled down significantly and rewritten for Hudson. Appearing on Michael Rosenbaum's podcast Inside of You, the actor talked about how far Winston's come from the original 1984 film to his upcoming appearance in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Ernie Hudson Recalls His Ghostbusters One-Liner
"Basically, instead of coming in page eight, he came in at page 68," Hudson said of his time in the Ivan Reitman 1984 original. "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. 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."
The straight man nature of Winston did fit the narrative with audiences as an outsider and nonbeliever considering the three other characters in Stantz (Aykroyd), Spengler (Ramis), and Venkman (Bill Murray) were already deep in their paranormal experiences. Luckily for Hudson, working with Ivan's son Jason Reitman for Afterlife gave him the character resolve he never received from the 1984 film, its 1989 sequel, or even the 2016 video game that saw the original four perform together for the last time. "Yep! Yep, thanks to Jason Reitman. Winston is definitely a complete character," he announced. You can check out my interview with Hudson, where he compares the Reitman father and son as directors. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is slated to hit theatres for Sony on November 11.