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Ernie Hudson Claims He Wasn’t Properly Compensated For ‘Ghostbusters’: “They Couldn’t Have Paid Me Less Money”


Ernie Hudson claimed that he was taken aback by the unexpected social media trend of his candid remarks about Ghostbusters. This is coming after the actor revealed while on The Howard Stern Show, that Ghostbusters is “the most difficult movie I [he] ever did.”

He also revealed to Yahoo Entertainment that he was “pushed aside” after the film’s mass commercial success. “It got picked up and ran all over the place,” Hudson told the news outlet. “There are certain things in this business that you don’t talk about. I’ve mentioned before that was difficult job. Most of the time, you accept those things and move on, because you’re afraid. You don’t want to do anything or say anything, because you’re happy to be working. The last thing you want to do is stop that.”


Ernie Hudson states that was not well paid for his role in ‘Ghostbusters’

GHOSTBUSTERS, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, 1984″

Hudson revealed in 2020 that his character Winston Zeddemore was originally intended to have the same level of importance as the other Ghostbusters. However, during production, his role was downsized, and he wasn’t introduced until midway through the film. “I never did [get a reason],” he explained. “I think they said for the story, you know, we got three guys [Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis] who are really established in the industry and I was really just getting started.”


RELATED: ‘Ghostbusters’ (1984) Cast Then And Now 2023

He also claimed that his compensation was reduced not just due to his reduced screen time, but also because he was largely excluded from the lucrative merchandising revenue that followed the massive success of Ghostbusters in 1984.

Hudson believes that he was not appropriately compensated for the overall success of the franchise compared to his co-stars. “I know so much of this business is about how you’re perceived, and [the perception is that] certain people deserve to make outrageous amounts of money,” he claimed. “Whereas other people who work just as hard and may have more credits are not thought of as deserving in that way and the studios are insulted they would even ask for it.”

GHOSTBUSTERS, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, 1984, (c)Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Ernie Hudson reveals that he was cheated out of a good deal

Looking back, the 77-year-old admits that he was outmaneuvered by more experienced negotiators who were focused on their own interests rather than his.  As the popularity of Ghostbusters skyrocketed, he realized that he had far less bargaining power than he deserved.

“When you go into negotiate thinking people are going to do the right thing, you sign a contract without really being able to read and understand it,” he pointed out. “And you rely on agents who don’t really about whether or not you understand it. A lot of times, they’re just happy to have a client get a job,” Hudson stated. “[They] aren’t looking out for your best interests. Then you look around and say, ‘Why don’t I get any royalties from all this stuff that has my face on it?’ And they go, ‘Oh, that’s not part of your deal.’ That was a really hard awakening. I was a single dad then, too, and I was focused on getting the job. You think that people are protecting you, and they aren’t.”

GHOSTBUSTERS, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, 1984

The actor concluded that despite the popularity of his character with fans, the studio did not recognize his potential to become a standout character. “The fans embraced Winston in a way that the studio was surprised by,” Hudson explained. “I spoke to one executive who said, ‘Ernie, to the fans Winston is just part of the Ghostbusters.’ And I thought, ‘Isn’t that what I was always meant to be?’ I didn’t realize they thought of me as something else.”

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