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Bill Murray threatened to quit Ghostbusters II when he learned of studio's plans to cut Ernie Hudson's role, according to Hudson

"That doesn’t happen very much in this industry.”

Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters II
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

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It is difficult to think of the Ghostbusters franchise without Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore. One of the original cast members, he serves as the audience stand-in while the more academically minded characters explain the inner workings of the supernatural. He’s as big a part of the series as the city it takes place in, but the actor has revealed that his role in Ghostbusters II was nearly much smaller.

The journey that Hudson took to get the role of Winston is well known. The part was originally written for Eddie Murphy but was cut heavily from the first film when Murphy backed out of the film. Winston didn’t even show up until halfway through the movie. In the sequel, he nearly got the same treatment until Bill Murray went to bat for him.

Murray clearly recognized how vital both Hudson and his character were to the balance of the original cast. In an interview to promote the latest film in the franchise, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Hudson explained that, when Ghostbusters II was still in the negotiations phase, “[Murray] said he wouldn’t do another one unless I was involved… That doesn’t happen very much in this industry.”

The result was Zeddemore remaining a core part of the paranormal investigators from the very start of the sequel and the franchise going forward. Frozen Empire marks the fifth Ghostbusters film that Hudson has appeared in including the 2016 Ghostbusters: Answer the Call reboot. The series could have looked remarkably different if Murray hadn’t stuck his neck out for the actor back in 1989.

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