More than 30 years since its inception in 1984, the Ghostbusters franchise continues to live on as a salient and omnipresent member of the sci-fi/ supernatural comedy film family. Ernie Hudson, who plays Winston Zeddemore in the film series, credits this success to the movie’s ability to “cross generations”. “It becomes a movie that the whole family can share and talk about... and not many do that,” Hudson tells The Hindu over a Zoom interview.
Hudson reveals that, over the years, he has had fans from around the world come up to him with their experience of the Ghostbusters. “In all cultures, we believe in the afterlife, or in different versions of what happens when we are no longer in this body,” he says, adding that the Ghostbusters captures this universal conundrum in a funny and exciting way that people can relate to.
A pop-culture phenomenon
After permeating through every possible form of visual media, including television shows, video games and comic books, Hudson hopes that the future of the film series is one that, “shows us what we all share in common”. “I’d love to see ghostbusting happen in India,” he adds quickly, to the discussion that has now shifted to the possibility of experiencing Ghostbusters through the lens of different cultures.
While we can hope that Ghostbusters will someday bring the iconic ghost traps to Indian streets, the latest addition to the original film series, Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be premiering for Indian audiences on &Flix on September 25. Set in the present day, the film revolves around the descendants of the original Ghostbusters squad, who go on to uncover their connection to their ancestors. Afterlife, which boasts of a strong cast, comprising Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace, also includes appearances from the original cast, with Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd reprising their roles from the 1984 flick.
Of Winston’s role in the 2021 film, Hudson says, “Winston has become a businessman and he’s been very successful with an international company that he owns and controls. But he loves being a Ghostbuster, so we will see him come back to save the world”. He also advises fans to stick around till the end, for a hint of what’s to come next for the franchise.
From father to son; working with Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman
For Hudson, the decision to reprise his role in Afterlife was a no-brainer. Having previously worked with Ivan Reitman, who directed the original Ghostbusters (1984) and its 1989 sequel, Hudson was eager to now work with Reitman’s son Jason who directed the latest project. He recalls seeing Jason, at the time six years old, running around on set of the first Ghostbusters movie, and later having a small part in the sequel.
“Jason is like family, and I was so excited to see him grow up and decide to be a filmmaker — a wonderful filmmaker — and then when he decided to take on this franchise, it just made me very, very happy. I wanted to do this movie and be a part of it, primarily because Jason was at the helm,” says Hudson.
He describes the latest film as “a rediscovery of Ghostbusters”, one that pays homage to the two original ones. “I am interested to see what Jason Reitman will do,” he says of the future of the franchise. “Things have changed now, the world is accessible and I think it would be wonderful to see other cultures,” he adds.
Three decades later, Hudson feels things have changed for the better in Hollywood in terms of representation as well. “In Hollywood, we have begun to see people in roles that were earlier reserved for certain groups, and that’s really exciting,” he states, thanking Ghostbusters and the movies that came after it for this development. He recalls the latest teaser for The Little Mermaid live-action remake, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, and says, “People get a chance to see themselves on-screen and its very empowering… it’s nice to see the world reflected as it truly is.”
“It took a long time, but I am so happy to finally see that happen,” he adds.
Hudson is also starring in the reboot of the 1990s show Quantum Leap, in addition to two movies: Champions co-starring Woody Harrelson, and Prisoner’s Daughter co-starring Kate Beckinsale and Brian Cox. “I give thanks every day to be able to be a part of media, that reaches all over the world and touches people in ways that I can’t even imagine,” Hudson concludes.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife will premiere for Indian audiences on &Flix, on September 25 at 12 noon