TK passed Ernie Hudson’s heartbreaking essay from EW around the offices late last week, where Hudson explains why he felt betrayed by his role in Ghostbusters, the only non-scientist of the bunch.
“I look back on Ghostbusters in a very fun way, but it’s got so many mixed feelings and emotions attached to it. When I originally got the script, the character of Winston was amazing and I thought it would be career-changing. The character came in right at the very beginning of the movie and had an elaborate background: he was an Air Force major something, a demolitions guy. It was great.
“The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page eight, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, ‘If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.’ So that was pretty devastating.”
As it would be.
Hudson’s essay also came out during the same week as the new Ghostbusters trailer, where we find out that Leslie Jones — the only black Ghostbuster — is also not a scientist. She is, instead, a “street-wise” subway worker. A lot of people were understandably peeved about this, and whether it’s “just a movie” or not, they have every right to be.
Leslie Jones, however, also has every right to tell those people to back off, as she did on Twitter in defending her character.
@IWriteILove if they made me a scientist you would be mad at what type of scientist. Seriously it's a fucking movie get over yourself— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) March 3, 2016
@IWriteILove who gives a fuck dude it's a movie shut up and go watch omg it's not science actually. You guys bitch about nothing.— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) March 3, 2016
Why can't a regular person be a ghostbuster. Im confused. And why can't i be the one who plays them i am a performer. Just go see the movie!— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) March 4, 2016
Regular People save the world everyday so if I'm the sterotype!! Then so be it!! We walk among Heroes and take them for granted.— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) March 4, 2016
ITS NOT A MAN, WOMAN, RACE, CLASS THANG!! ITS A GHOSTBUSTER THANG!! AND AS FAR AS IM CONCERNED WE ALL GHOSTBUSTERS!! STAND TALL!!— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) March 4, 2016
I think the people complaining have a legitimate grievance (why couldn’t McCarthy play the subway worker?), and I don’t think that anyone should have to accept that she’s “the stereotype.” That goes for any of the other characters in the movie. But I’m also excited about a Ghostbusters movie starring four women of different races, sexualities, and body types, which is to say: There’s something here for everyone to complain about, but also something here to celebrate.
On the other hand, it may be “just a movie,” but it’s not just any movie. It’s Ghostbusters, expected to be one of the biggest films of the year, and how it is represented matters. There’ll be a lot of young white women who will be able to look up on the screen and see themselves represented as Ghostbusting scientists, and a lot of young black women who will see themselves represented as Ghostbusting subway workers. That’s not a negligible difference.