Even those briefly aware of New York’s finest paranormal investigators know that the Ghostbusters comprise of four people; Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore. And yet, if you scanned a majority of the promotional artwork from back in the day, the last man to join the team is decidedly absent. In fact, of all the heroes that make up the titular team, it’s safe to say that Winston gets the least amount of treatment – well, now it looks like that’s about to change in the films upcoming official sequel, Ghostbuster: Afterlife.
Speaking to Michael Rosenbaum, Ernie Hudson, who played Winston, explained why his character got the short end of the proton pack in the original films and that Ghostbusters: Afterlife makes a good effort to resolve that issue.
“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 [but] 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.”Michael Rosenbaum
The reason for the shift in story for poor Winston is simply due to the fact that a bigger name was attached to the character before Hudson stepped in. The story goes that Aykroyd originally had Eddie Murphy down for the part, but due to scheduling conflicts (he’d already put his name down for Beverly Hills Cop) he never signed on. The rest, as they say, is paranormal activity and the role after going to Hudson, was cut down dramatically. Even so, it didn’t stop the actor giving the gig everything he’d got, which explains why Winston still stands as much as a favourite as the rest of the Ghostbusters for some.
“I think the studio probably worked overtime to try and make sure that the Ghostbusters were always thought of as three guys. I think it’s the fans – and I really appreciate the fans who really embraced the character – and at one point Winston was one of the best-selling dolls they had, and they were surprised. I think that’s because fans really loved the character.”Michael Rosenbaum
But what does that leave for our hero that believed anything if there was a steady pay check in it? Well Hudson has confirmed that Ghostbusters: Afterlife director, Jason Reitman (son of original director, Ivan) has taken great care in making sure that Winston gets a fair shot at the stream this time around. He assured Rosenbaum that “Thanks to Jason Reitman, Winston is definitely a complete character.” Nice one.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife should be hitting cinemas this year November 11 and will see the OG cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts reprising their roles alongside new blood Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd.