While many know him for his role in the Ghostbusters movies, Ernie Hudson has had a very long and distinguished career that goes way beyond his time wearing the proton pack. After starting off with ambitions of being a playwright, he would go on to accrue over 100 credits in film and television, most notably in the aforementioned Ghostbuster films and as a regular cast member in the acclaimed prison series "OZ" on HBO.
Hudson is now cementing his presence in the pop-culture landscape as a voice-actor in the popular animated series Transformers Prime. He voices the role of Agent William Fowler, a US Government agent who acts as a liason to the Autobots. He's described by the Transformers Wiki as a "former Army Ranger" who is a "tough talking, robot dissing" character.
With Transformers Prime approaching it's mid-season hiatus, Hudson took time to answer some questions for Geek To Me. In our e-mail interview, Hudson talks about the difference between acting for films and animation; what his dream role would be; what he knows about a potential Ghostbusters sequel; and what kind of autobot he would create for himself:
Geek To Me: When you first agreed to take the role of Agent Fowler for Transformers Prime, did you ever think the show would gain the notoriety that it has?
Ernie Hudson: When I first took the role of Agent Fowler I didn't think much about how popular it would or would not be. It wasn't until I met everyone at the first session that I became a believer and genuinely felt we had something truly special.
G2M: Were you a fan of Transformers before you became involved with the series?
EH: I wasn't a hardcore fan. I have four sons who all love the franchise. I was more aware of it through them.
G2M: You can create your own Transformer character: What's your name?; Would you be an Autobot or Decepticon?; And what vehicle would you transform into?
EH: If I could create my own Transformer character, it would be named Vanquish and he would transform into an Aston Martin. He would be the coolest, most sophisticated Autobot of them all.
G2M: The show has the distinction of having both a member of the Scooby Gang (Frank Welker) and a Ghostbuster on the cast; do you and Frank ever discuss teaming up and solving a ghostly mystery?
EH: Frank and I have never discussed solving a ghostly mystery but now that you've brought it up, I think it's about time we did.
G2M: What's the difference between acting and voice acting for an animated series or a video game - like you did for the Ghostbusters video game?
EH: The difference between voice acting and acting for me is, you don't have your entire instrument to tell the story. It has to be all in the sounds and it's up to others to fill in everything else. I love it, but I'm not in control of Agent Fowler's physicality.
G2M: In all your interactions with fans, how different are fans of Transformers from - let's say - fans of Oz?
EH: The fans of Transformers tend to be more upbeat and optimistic. In general a lot more fun. OZ fans are more pessimistic and downbeat. In general, not as much fun to hang out with.
G2M: You hold the distinction of being the only minority character in the Ghostbusters franchise, how would you like to see that addressed in potential future films? Or do you think it's not that big a deal?
EH: I don't think the issue of minority characters in Ghostbusters is a BIG deal, but I do hope movies in general will consciously reflect the very diverse demographics of not just America, but the world we all actually live in.
G2M: Okay, I would be remiss if I didn't ask the question that everyone always asks: What's the latest news on Ghostbusters 3?
EH: As far as GB 3, I'm not at all involved in the creative development process of the movie, so I have absolutely no information to share. I had conversations with most of the key players and
everyone has expressed an interest in making it happen. I, like the fans, would love to see it happen and have no idea as to why it hasn't already.
G2M: Is there a dream role/show out there that you're still chomping at the bit to get into?
EH: In the mid-seventies I did the play the "Great White Hope." It was loosely based on the life of Jack Johnson, the first Black Heavyweight Champion. For years I've been wanting to tell his true story. I'm focusing my time and energy into making that happen.
G2M: Where can we expect to see you next?
EH: Next up, I can be seen from time to time in "Secret Life of the American Teenager" on ABC Family channel. I have a movie soon to be released with John Schneider called "Doonby," and another called "Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Conspiracy," a children's adventure film.
G2M: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
"Tranformers Prime" airs Saturdays on HUB TV. Check your local listings for more info.
ELLIOTT SERRANO IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR WHO WOULD GLADLY PLAY DOCTOR PETER VENKMAN'S LONG-LOST SON IN GHOSTBUSTERS 3.
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