'The Family Business' Star Ernie Hudson on the Impact of 'Ghostbusters': 'It's Very Moving for Me'

There is no doubt that actor Ernie Hudson is one of the most beloved stars of our generation. With an illustrious career spanning four decades, Hudson has continuously found ways to challenge himself in both film and television — and his latest in BET’s The Family Business is no different. But just as Hudson has a long, varied filmography we’ve come to love and follow, the charismatic icon is well aware of his impact till this day with the 1984 classic, Ghostbusters.

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(Photo: Getty Images / Everett Collection)

Speaking exclusively to PopCulture.com about his new eight-part BET series in which he also serves as executive producer in addition to starring as family patriarch, L.C. Duncan, Hudson talks about Ghostbusters with much humility and reveals how touched he is by the fans’ response to the film’s legacy.

“When you reach my age…” Hudson said with a laugh. “You really begin to appreciate anything that people say has impacted their lives. I see people who say they grew up watching the show [and] you realize how much it meant to people. They can quote lines that you said 40 years ago; they’re, saying it to their children — it’s very moving for me.”

While Hudson wrote about his bittersweet relationship with Ghostbusters in a 2014 essay for Entertainment Weekly, the actor tells PopCulture.com he is blessed for the experiences learned from the classic franchise and all the roles that followed, creating an impact with fans.

“You always want that [impact] because some things people just connect with; or it doesn’t have that impact,” he said. “But it’s nice to be a part of Ghostbusters and movies like, The Crow, or The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, that touches people on a deep level.”

Fans have evidently connected to Ghostbusters so deeply that when news first emerged of the 2016 reboot starring an all-female led cast, the trailer drew mixed reactions, and the film went on to earn lukewarm reviews and panned by critics. Though Hudson loved and appreciated the casting, he tells PopCulture.com he was baffled by the film’s direction.

“You know, one of the things I love about being executive producer on The Family Business is, I have input. At least you’ve got to hear what I have to say — you don’t have to necessarily agree with it, but I have input,” he said. “[But] when they decided to do the sequel, nobody asked my opinion. I first off did not understand why do a reboot. It’s been 30 years. Not like, it was last year — it’s been 30 years, so if you’re going to bring the girls in, let them be our children or whatever.”

Without being critical and firmly sharing how it’s his own opinion, Hudson says a direction that picked up where the films left off would have made much more sense.

“[And] then we could’ve made our cameos as our characters as opposed to — what is this other universe? Whatever that is, I don’t understand that. And I think it was more confusing, but just, that was my opinion,” he said.

Adding that while he is well aware everyone is entitled to his or her own choices, Hudson would have appreciated if his opinion was heard.

“It was what it was. But, I would have done it differently, and I think there were some really important elements of Ghostbusters that wasn’t there. Like the love relationship between Bill Murray [and] Sigourney Weaver... I missed that. [And] a Rick Moranis character like that — I don’t want to be critical, but like I said again, they didn’t ask my opinion,” he laughed.

When news of another Ghostbusters movie emerged in recent weeks, stemming from reports of Dan Aykroyd revealing a third film was being written with the original cast, Hudson says he is looking forward to seeing what happens next.

“You know, we love these titles. We love these stories — we want to see more of them, but we want to see them done in a way where it has integrity,” he said. “And bring something of a continuation, but see it done right.”

Hudson adds for a reboot like the 2016 film to “totally ignore” elements of what makes a film like Ghostbusters so treasured by fans can be problematic.

“I think a little bit of that was what was happening with the sequel in Ghostbusters,” he admits. “I think they said, ‘Well, we’ve got to do it like this,’ but I think the fans were shouting, ‘We want to see this,’ and I think you have to honor that.”

In terms of the reboot and revival resurgence that has hit Hollywood in recent years, the actor explains how he understands why fans value franchises so much, especially for those that have grown up with the films.

“It’s all very personal,” he admits, adding how everyone has his or her own story and moment with the film. “They share it with their children today, [and] you don’t want to just see them done in any way. The Ghostbusters video game that we did a few years ago, I think it remained true to the original, and I think that was a way to do it.”

Hudson hopes his latest role as the family patriarch in The Family Business, based on the New York Times bestseller by Carl Weber, will be a personal one for viewers in the years to come as well.

Revealing how he was “blown away by the whole family dynamic,” Hudson says he wanted to be a part of the BET production as executive producer simply because it was an important, character-driven story.

“You know, sometimes it becomes frustrating as an actor because you don’t get to tell the whole story. After Ghostbusters came out, little kids would sometimes — weird questions, but they would ask me, ‘Where does Winston go?’” Hudson laughed. “Because they see him on screen and then where does he go? Where does he live? Is he married? Does he have children? We like Winston, but who is Winston? And so, it’s wonderful to be in a show where we get to see behind the ice and see a whole character. Hopefully The Family Business will be one of those shows that’ll do that, too.”

The Family Business airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on BET.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images / Everett Collection; Monica Schipper