Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire: Ernie Hudson On Winston’s Return, Proton Packs, And Supernatural Spirits

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

by Tom Ellen |
Published on

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is about to unleash all kinds of ghouls on New York City once more – with two generations of ‘busters ready to battle them, no less. As well as continuing the adventures of the young Spenglers – and Paul Rudd’s Gary Grooberson – the original gang is back in the Firehouse. Empire caught up with them for our world-exclusive Frozen Empire issue, getting the inside scoop on the film, the characters’ much-anticipated returns – and all other kinds of spooky business. Read Empire’s conversation with Ernie Hudson here – discussing his thoughts on the afterlife, the increasing weight of proton packs, and why he wanted Winston at the heart of the action.

Originally published in the March 2024 issue of Empire.


EMPIRE: Winston and the other ‘OG’ Ghostbusters only appeared briefly in Afterlife, so how did it feel to suit up again for a fuller role in Frozen Empire?

Ernie Hudson: Honestly, it’s like family. We [the OGs] only get together when it’s time to suit up. [Laughs] With Bill [Murray], Danny [Aykroyd] and Annie [Potts] — it’s closer than friendship. It’s like we’ve been to war together. So, it was very special. I always get a little emotional when I see them.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Did you get to hang out much between takes?

Oh yeah, we got into it — laughing and singing. Billy is so creative: he has this ‘punch-drunk boxer’ character that he’ll do for us. And then somebody will come up with an old song and we’ll all join in. It’s so fun to hang out with those guys.

Bill Murray once described the proton packs as weighing as much as a “small fridge”. Is it tougher lugging them around now than it was 40 years ago?

I was thinking, “Winston’s a wealthy guy now, surely he’ll have come up with a lighter pack?” But honestly, I think this [Frozen Empire] pack was heavier than the first one! I consider myself in okay shape, but these things are heavy. And they seem to have gotten heavier.

I believe there’s more going on than we can experience with these five senses.

Did you have any reservations about coming back to the franchise?

I wasn’t jumping up and down to do it, but I do really love the fans. My only hesitation was, “I don’t want to be an afterthought.” Like: “Oh, well, I guess we have to have Ernie.” I wanted [Winston] to be fully engaged in the story. Which he absolutely is in this movie.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I believe there’s more going on than we can experience with these five senses. I believe that when this experience is over, we’ll go somewhere — but none of us will know where until it’s our time. Most of my family are from the South [in the United States], and they certainly believed in supernatural spirits. But I don’t believe ghosts are, y’know, moving things around.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

What’s been your best experience with a Ghostbusters fan?

Honestly, the best experience you can have is when you see someone who’s clearly having a bad day — they’ve got a little storm cloud above them — and then suddenly they look up, see me, and it’s like the cloud disappears. They rush over: “Oh my God, Winston Zeddemore! I love those movies!” That’s pretty amazing. Plus, at a convention once, I met a nine-month-old baby with his father and grandmother. The baby was wearing a Ghostbusters jumpsuit that the grandmother had knitted for her son, 30 years ago, and now his son was wearing it. That meant so much to me. I also get invited by fans to go on real ghost hunts, where they set up cameras and mics and try to catch spirits.

Do you ever go?

I do not. [Laughs] Going into a former insane asylum or haunted hotel? Thank you for asking, but... I’m okay.

Empire – March 2024 issue – Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire – Cover 1

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire comes to UK cinemas on Friday 22 March

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