ATLANTA -- By age 73, plenty of actors are in the sunset of their careers. But Ernie Hudson's career is actually at its apex. With 230-plus credits dating to 1976, the Ghostbusters star has never been busier.
He's now the patriarch on BET's drama Carl Weber's The Family Business, Lily Tomlin's boyfriend in Netflix's light-hearted comedy Grace and Frankie and Gabrielle Union's dad in the Bad Boys cop drama spin-off L.A.'s Finest for Charter Communications' new Spectrum service.
And he, Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray have committed to a third Ghostbusters featuring most of the original cast.
"I've reached a point where I don't have to audition anymore," said Hudson during lunch, which also included Family Business director and producer Trey Haley.
In other words, producers now call Hudson for roles and he's grateful.
The Family Business was a project he and best-selling author Carl Weber had talked about for years. Hudson gets to dig into a complex role as L.C. Duncan, the confident, shrewdly practical owner of an exotic car company in New York. He grapples with corrupt politicians, mafia types and drug cartels. Duncan is also pondering retirement and passing leadership to one of his family members.
Like Empire, several of those family members jockey for power positions. "You want your children to step in," Hudson said, "but they don't always step in and do things the way you hope and expect." (Hudson has four sons so he gets it.)
"You get so much negative stuff about African-American dads," he said. "For me, it's wonderful to play a guy who is committed to family."
Hudson said the dialogue rolls of his tongue. The words are familiar and comfortable to him. "He sounds like my uncle!" Hudson said. "And as crazy as this family is, I know these people and how they perceive the world."
He also appreciates how the blacks on the show "live life fully and unapologetically. That's what I love about the show."
Haley, who does all the show's post-production in Atlanta at his Tri Destined Studios local offices, said the show has started to catch on with the audience and ratings have begun edging up, especially after DVR usage is incorporated.
The second half of the first season of Family Business is airing Tuesday nights on BET.
It was originally shot as a movie but BET liked it so much, they asked Weber and Haley's company to turn it into an eight-episode season. So they went back into production to fill out and expand the plot lines.
Hudson's role in L.A.'s Finest as Joseph Bennett is far different from that of The Family Business. Bennett is a former cop who left under questionable circumstances and now runs a bar. "He's more of an observer," Hudson said. "L.C. doesn't take a backseat for anybody."
The genial Minnesota resident gets to Atlanta every so often for work. He was the lead in a TV One movie in 2015 shot in Atlanta called To Hell and Back. He also guested on Starz' Survivor's Remorse.
Style on 02/03/2019
Print Headline: Ernie Hudson is busier than ever acting in several TV, film projects