No offense intended to Ernie Hudson, but Winston Zeddemore always felt like the odd man out in Ivan Reitman’s original Ghostbusters duology. It was well established that Harold Ramis’ Egon Spengler, Dan Akroyd’s Ray Stantz and Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman had been friends for a long time before the movie even started having gone to college together, but Winston simply appears a third of the way through the story and gets hired for the job, while he doesn’t receive much in the way of character development.
The actor revealed in the past that he went through five auditions to secure the role in the first place, and signed on for half of his usual salary after reading the script, where Winston had a much more substantial role that pegged him as a former Air Force demolitions expert. However, when he turned up to the set, he was handed a new and completely different screenplay, one that reduced him to little more than a background player.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is looking to banish memories of Paul Feig’s incredibly divisive reboot by bringing the majority of the original gang back together and delivering the canonical sequel to Ghostbusters II that fans have been waiting on for over 30 years. And in a new interview, Hudson admitted that at long last, some of the gaps in Winston’s backstory will be filled in.
“We don’t know a damn thing about Winston. With Bill Murray, we see him in his little studio, or Danny in his little lab, we get a sense of what is outside of what we’re seeing. But with Winston, he’s just there. He just pops up. In the beginning, there was a backstory, just before we started shooting, they wrote him out.
Basically, instead of coming in page eight, he came in at page 68. 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. Yep, thanks to Jason Reitman. Winston is definitely a complete character.”
Having been pushed back once again, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now scheduled to hit theaters in November, well over a year later than originally intended. A legacy sequel in more ways than one with Jason Reitman taking over from his father behind the camera, balancing nostalgia while pushing the franchise forward is key to making the concept work, but at least Winston will get his moment to shine at long last.