Ernie Hudson Big Star chat transcript

If you missed out on the Yahoo Chat with Ernie Hudson, (a co-sponsor of the chat) has posted a transcript.

Hudson had some interesting things to say about his role as the fourth Ghostbuster.

CoolLennyJ1 asks: Ernie how was it working on Ghostbusters?

BigStar_Celeb: It was … the first one was really difficult because I was sort of an outsider .. not part of the group. The guys had worked together for a long time, it took a while to get comfortable with them and feel part of the team. But, it was a lot of fun .. and the second one was a lot of fun as well. I’m glad I did them and glad to have been a part of them.

I had a feeling they’d be special movies, but I had no idea that it’d become the huge hit that it was.

Other revelations included;
– He felt like an outsider when he first joined the cast.
– He had a feeling that the two movies would be special.
– To this day people still stop him on the street and say “Who Ya Gonna Call?”.
Most everyone was interested about a possible third Ghostbusters to which Hudson revealed that he’s heard all of the same rumours we have, but he has not been approached yet.
Hudson commented that as early as his work with Harold Ramis on Airheads (1994) there was discussion about making a third Ghostbusters.
“It was a big franchise and it’s hard to believe that the studios won’t try and take advantage of it”
Best Tidbits: Hudson’s wife collected a lot of the GB toys.
Startling Revelation: Ghostbusters actually hindered Hudson’s career. He says he didn’t work for three years after making it.

The chat transcript’s original home is now dead, but you can read the whole chat after the jump.

April 5, 1999

BigStar_Host: First a little about our guest, actor, Ernie Hudson! He is best known as a member of the elite team that braved being slimed when battling appalling apparitions in the hilarious Ivan Reitman’s comedies, “Ghostbusters,” and “Ghostbusters II.” And, Ernie has been busy ever since, not only on movie screens, but also on stage and television.
BigStar_Host: On TV, Ernie stars in HBO’s ground-breaking series, “Oz,” from the award-winning team of Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana. In his third season as Leo Glynn, the fair-minded warden of the high-tech experimental unit of a maximum security prison, Hudson is charged with keeping the peace among the prisoners and his own staff … while satisfying the demands of a vocal governor with a law-and-order agenda.
BigStar_Host: Moviegoers and TV viewers will see Hudson in a wide variety of roles over the next few months. First he stars as Michael Jordan’s father in Fox Family Channel’s “Michael Jordan: An American Hero,” airing April 18th. He recently wrapped a starring role as a veteran homeless man who has no desire to be part of society in the film, “Everything’s Jake.” He also stars in “A Stranger in the Kingdom,” which chronicles the dramatic story of a black minister whose arrival in a small New England town and threatens the residents of Kingdom County.
BigStar_Host: He’s an introverted loner who acts on his fantasies in “October 22nd,” for director Richard “Pompetus of Love” Schenkman. He’s also wrapped the films, “Shark Attack,” (he’s a scheming local banker) and “Stealth Fighter” (in which he stars as the President of the United States.) A native of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Hudson got married the year he graduated high school. Within two years he, along with his wife and infant son, moved to Detroit, where he enrolled at Wayne State University to develop his acting and writing skills by majoring in Speech and English. Ernie also became a resident playwright at Detroit’s Concept East, the oldest black theater company in the country at that time. There he had his first experience of watching his own words come to life on the stage in such works as “Rebellion 369” and “My Kingdom Come.” Later he also founded the Actors Ensemble Theater, where he and other black performers staged and appeared in their own works.
BigStar_Host: After receiving his Bachelors Degree from Wayne State, Hudson accepted a full scholarship to the Master of Fine Arts program at Yale University. While performing with the university’s repertory group, he was invited to appear in the Los Angeles production of Lonnie Elder’s “Daddy Goodness.” It was there that he met legendary filmmaker Gordon Parks, who gave the young actor his first feature film role as co-star of “Leadbelly.”
BigStar_Host: Never far from the stage, Hudson then starred in the Minneapolis Theatre-in-the-Round production of “The Great White Hope,” which was subsequently restaged at the Missouri Repertory Theater, and then in Los Angeles to rave reviews. Sadly, his marriage ended at that time and Hudson, along with two small children, stayed in Los Angeles while his former wife continued to pursue her education in the Midwest. Soon after, Hudson was cast in Abby Mann’s miniseries “King” and the actor’s career began to alternate between feature film and TV roles. Besides “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II,” his long list of feature film credits include “Congo,” “The Substitute,” “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” “The Crow,” “Sugar Hill,” “No Escape,” “Basketball Diaries,l” “The Cowboy Way,” “Airheads,” “Speechless,” “Weeds,” “Leviathan,” “Space Hunter,” “The Jazz Singer,” and “Main Event” with Barbra Streisand.
BigStar_Host: Among Ernie’s TV movie credits are, “The Cherokee Kid,” “Delta Force, The Final Mission,” “Tornado Alley,” “Love on the Run,” “Mad Bull,” “Women of San Quentin,” “Crazy Times,” “A Matter of Life and Death,” “White Mama,” with Bette Davis, and the critically acclaimed Hallmark original movie “Clover,” which won the 1997 Christopher Award which recognizes artistic excellence in film, books, and television affirming the highest values of the human spirit.
BigStar_Host: Recently, Hudson won the International Press Academy Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series for his work on “Oz.”
BigStar_Host: Ernie has starred in several TV miniseries, among them are, the Oliver Stone futuristic “Wild Palms,” “King,” Alex Haley’s “Roots II,” and HBO’s “Butter” in which he starred as a ruthless, power-hungry record company owner. Hudson, now remarried, lives with his wife and their two children in the San Bernardino mountains. He also has two children from his first marriage.

CoolLennyJ1 asks: Ernie how was it working on Ghostbusters?
BigStar_Celeb: It was … the first one was really difficult because I was sort of an outsider .. not part of the group. The guys had worked together for a long time, it took a while to get comfortable with them and feel part of the team. But, it was a lot of fun .. and the second one was a lot of fun as well. I’m glad I did them and glad to have been a part of them.
BigStar_Celeb: I had a feeling they’d be special movies, but I had no idea that it’d become the huge hit that it was.

James_Bond_of_the_new_mellenium asks: Are the rumors true about Ghostbusters 3 and even a Ghostbusters 4?
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve heard them .. everyday. Someone will come up and say they read it somewhere or heard .. but no one’s approached me about it.
BigStar_Celeb: It was a big franchise and it’s hard to believe the studios won’t try to take advantage of it. But, as far as I know, nothing definite has happened and I haven’t been approached yet. I worked with Harold Ramis on “Airheads” and he talked about the studios wanting it to happen.
BigStar_Celeb: He and Danny Aykroyd were in favor but Bill Murray didn’t. So, I’m not sure if they worked through all the politics that it takes to make a movie. It’d be nice to get together with the guys again … I haven’t worked with them.
BigStar_Celeb: It’s nice to see everyone successful in their own area. I haven’t stopped working and have been fortunate to have done a lot of great films. It’s nice to have that as part of my background.

Tobias2428 asks: hey ernie whats up let me say that you rock and now my question. QUESTION: how did it feel to work with Brandon Lee in the crow before he died????�
BigStar_Celeb: I really liked him, met him 6 years before the accident. I know it’s polite to say what a great guy they were when someone dies, but he really was. And, he proved in “The Crow” that he would have been a big star had he lived.
BigStar_Celeb: The movie showed people what he was capable of doing .. and I’m glad to have been a part of it.

Basketball_God_2002 asks: Hows it goin ernie? you rule by the way
BigStar_Celeb: Thanks!
BigStar_Celeb: That means a lot.
BigStar_Celeb: Now I get a lot of people who’ll come up and say “i like your work,” it’s nice to hear that people feel you’re doing something right.

apieter asks: Do you get recognized by your fans when you’re out in public?
BigStar_Celeb: All the time, yeah. The nice thing about my career is different fans tune into different things.
BigStar_Celeb: There’s a whole group of young adults who tune into “The Crow,” and “Ghostbusters,” there’s not a day I’m out in public when someone doesn’t say “Who you gonna call?”
BigStar_Celeb: And, wives and mothers who saw “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” will come up and comment on that. So, I get different varieties of people.’
BigStar_Celeb: Those different films play to different audiences .. maybe it’s fortunate or vice versa.
BigStar_Celeb: If a person only does action movies, he builds up an audience. And, I’ve sort of been all over the place.

patand77 asks: Are you working on anything new?
BigStar_Celeb: Well, I’m not sure .. trying to develop a project about the American Revolutionary War that takes place during the 1700’s.
BigStar_Celeb: But, nothing’s set right now.
BigStar_Celeb: We’re finishing up OZ the end of April and really looking for something that I want to do.
BigStar_Celeb: Right now, it’s important to me to want to do the project and feel there’s something I can bring to it.
BigStar_Celeb: I feel at a certain point it’s unfair to the public if you’re not there to give your 100%.

AcidBurn_grrl asks: Would you rather do comedy or something more serious?
BigStar_Celeb: I think it’s nice to be able to do all of it.
BigStar_Celeb: I like doing comedy, it’s great.
BigStar_Celeb: When you get it right, there’s nothing like it.
BigStar_Celeb: But, as an actor, I take pride in the fact that you can play in all those arenas.
BigStar_Celeb: They’re all worthy .. none are more important than the other.
BigStar_Celeb: It’s being able to and having the opportunity to do all of it.
BigStar_Celeb: For actors that’s important.
BigStar_Celeb: If you’re a musician or a comedian, you can always find clubs to play in.
BigStar_Celeb: But, for an actor, you have to be invited to the party.

BigStar_Celeb: Well, the basis of all acting as far as I’m concerned is theater.
BigStar_Celeb: Usually in any community there’s a local theater group .. at universities, and junior colleges. Working with a theater group is a great place to start .. through that you get a feel of what you’re capable of. If you like it or don’t. And, then from the people you’ll find other opportunities and …
BigStar_Celeb: The problem is that when people start out they wanna go right into movies or TV, and they don’t wanna pay those dues. But, you wanna be around for 40 years cause it is a career.

filippomiller asks: How did you start acting? Have you worked in the theatre?
BigStar_Celeb: And, I think theater is the best place to begin. Yes, I worked in a group out of Detroit. I went to Wayne State U in Detroit and got a scholarship to Yale and went there for a while.
BigStar_Celeb: Then U of Minnesota .. studied theater … writing .. you come out with a sense of knowing what you can do.
BigStar_Celeb: It’s important for an actor to have that sense of security. Without that, you’ll just get blown out of the water.

mightymo1216 asks: what is your opinion about some of the storylines on oz?
BigStar_Celeb: Well, I think they’re very strong. Most of them come from real life situations that Tom Fontana’s studied in his research.
BigStar_Celeb: They’re hard life stories but they’re a part of our society that we don’t tend to focus on that “Oz” puts in people’s livingrooms.
BigStar_Celeb: We have a lot of detective and court room dramas but we don’t want to think about what happens to those people when they’re sent away. It’s a hard look at a very difficult part of our society.
BigStar_Celeb: That’s the problem with regular TV doing a series like “Oz,” how do you get a happy ending from guys who are there under desperate situations.
BigStar_Celeb: The little time that I’ve spent researching for the role, you realize it’s the prisoners who set the standard .. what goes on

The_Innocent_Criminal asks: To your knowledge, will there be a third season?
BigStar_Celeb: Yeah, we’re shooting it now in fact. I’m here in NY doing that. We did 8 shows the first and second year and doing 8 for this third one.
BigStar_Celeb: They started repeating the old ones at the end of march and the new ones will start in July. They’ll run however long it takes to run all of them.
BigStar_Celeb: Because it’s HBO they opted not to do a full season .. but the 8 shows are perfect for me cause I live in CA …
BigStar_Celeb: it’d be totally hard to relocate here. it’s great coming here for three months to do the 8 shows, but to live here full-time would be difficult.

castewar_2 asks: If you could do anything, make any movie, what would you do?
BigStar_Celeb: I’m really fascinated by some of the periods of history. Intrigued by the whole relationship that fathers have with their children.
BigStar_Celeb: I have four sons and the things I’ve done lately have dealt with that theme lately. The Michael Jordan story .. .playing the father.
BigStar_Celeb: I’m really fascinated by how fathers impact their children and how children impact fatherhood.
BigStar_Celeb: I’m working on a piece now that deals with The American Revolution and Boxing in America. And, indirectly deals with mentors and such .. it’s been an issue in my own life not having had a father. So, in a way that’s kind of where I am right now.
BigStar_Celeb: Obviously, I’m looking for something interesting and fascinating to work on, but that’s sort of where my focus is right now.

hot2trot77_99 asks: Me again How was it also being able to play Michael Jordons father and did you actually get a chance to meet him?
BigStar_Celeb: No, I’ve never met Michael or his father. I did meet with Dorothy, Michael’s sister. And, when I took the project, I thought the Jordan family would be very involved.
BigStar_Celeb: They weren’t for whatever reason .. that has to do with producers and studios which I don’t know anything about. I had a difficult time researching the character .. obviously he’s not with us anymore.
BigStar_Celeb: There’s really not a lot of information written about Michael’s family … He keeps that private.
BigStar_Celeb: He’ll talk about the game, the players .. but very little is written about the family.
BigStar_Celeb: So, since I couldn’t get the kind of information that I wanted to .. I played the character in the script as written and my concern was about the relationship between father and son.
BigStar_Celeb: I hope the writing was true or accurate, I can’t speak to that, but I can speak to the relationship that happens in the show and how that father was a large part of how Michael Jordan became Michael jordan.
BigStar_Celeb: He contributed a lot to what ultimately became the Michael Jordan that we know.
BigStar_Celeb: Women through the 60’s and 70’s have gone through an amazing revolution if you can call it that.
BigStar_Celeb: They have a strong feel of their place in society and that’s good.
BigStar_Celeb: Men haven’t found the direction yet … there’s been a struggle to maintain manhood, but what’s really threatened is fatherhood and what our position is.
BigStar_Celeb: We understand Mother’s Day and what that’s about but Father’s Day isn’t as clear. And, Hollywood hasn’t been kind to fathers. We don’t understand what they do.
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve heard so many negative stories about the black community and family and it was nice to see a black family that was positive, in-tact and supported each other.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I wanted to play that.

StayPuftCG asks: Do you have any desire to maybe move on to other facets of showbusiness (like scriptwriting or directing), or is acting keeping you busy enough for now?
BigStar_Celeb: Well, acting has been keeping me busy but I’m starting to question some of the roles I’ve been taking.
BigStar_Celeb: Not that I feel bad about anything I’ve done. But, question the reason I’m doing them.
BigStar_Celeb: I started as a playwright and got my scholarship at Yale as a playwriting student. Acting has paid the bills, but now that I’ve gotten older, I want to go back to the stories.
BigStar_Celeb: I do not have a desire to go into directing. To some extent, producing, in the sense that if I can influence a project …
BigStar_Celeb: I played a part of a producer in “Everything’s Jake,” but I have no intention of being a line producer.
BigStar_Celeb: I did that moreso to lend my name and help with it.

Spider_nICk asks: Of all the films you’ve been in, which did you most enjoy doing?
BigStar_Celeb: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle .. it was a freeing experience.
BigStar_Celeb: Up until then I’d tried to find that key to success …. was looking for stardom .. something. And, with that film, I decided to let that go, have fun, and do what I love to do which is acting.
BigStar_Celeb: Without the baggage of where is this going? Who’s going to see this?
BigStar_Celeb: And, so doing that movie was just about the work and the show.
BigStar_Celeb: I was happy that it turned out to be as successful as it was .. but I enjoyed playing the character than for no other reason than it was just about the work.

krbshmschl_El_55345 asks: When did you first want to act?
BigStar_Celeb: I think maybe when I was a kid. I did some church plays.
BigStar_Celeb: And, I knew that it would be great to be able to do that, but I didn’t know any actors and didn’t know you could make a living at it and didn’t think it was possible.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I didn’t pursue it cause I didn’t think it was possible for someone of my background to get a shot at it.
BigStar_Celeb: It wasn’t until I’d gone to college for a few years and tried a few things .. that I came to acting .. I thought if I was gonna be a failure, I was gonna be a failure at something I liked doing.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I chose it by default more than anything else.

sheelahk_5 asks: how hard was it working on congo
BigStar_Celeb: Well, the Congo was a lot of fun .. and another one of those roles that I had fun with and didn’t think a whole lot about the political ramifications and what the film would mean to my career.
BigStar_Celeb: We shot it mostly in the studio in Culver City.
BigStar_Celeb: We went to Costa Rica for 6 weeks and shot a lot of exteriors .. but most was on an amazing stage in Culver City.It was fun, I enjoyed it. It was grueling in the sense that we had a lot of mechanics .. when you’re doing an FX film, you have to patient with all that stuff. It takes time.
BigStar_Celeb: But, I’m glad that the audience liked it. The critics weren’t particularly kind about it, but I’m glad the audience liked it.
BigStar_Celeb: I used to watch those jungle movies as a kid and it was always the British guy who was kind of pompous and such.
BigStar_Celeb: So, it gave me a chance to be the guy in charge and show a different role as a black actor.

sadge1127 asks: hi ernie, i’ve been a fan since ghostbusters and hand that rocks the cradle. I love your show “OZ”. What can you tell us about the upcoming season?
BigStar_Celeb: Well, the upcoming season … the stories get more intricate and I think it’s a really good season. The writing is extraordinary.
BigStar_Celeb: Every year we sort of centered around a theme. The first year we were building towards a riot, the second we were building up toward an escape.
BigStar_Celeb: This third year it’s a boxing tournament that takes place in the prison.
BigStar_Celeb: A lot of the characters are back, some have been executed .. it should be an exciting year. My oldest son, Ernest Jr. is on the show this season.
BigStar_Celeb: He takes over the Muslims for a while .. so that story gets very complicated.
BigStar_Celeb: it’s a good season coming up.

apieter asks: Do you ever get depressed by the subject matter in Oz?
BigStar_Celeb: No, when I’m making the film it’s not depressing to me.
BigStar_Celeb: Sometimes when I watch the stories unfold .. and I try to watch the ones I do as an audience member and forget that I was there and a part of it.
BigStar_Celeb: The Beecher storyline was a difficult story for me to go through cause he was sort of the everyman character.
BigStar_Celeb: What happened to him can happen to anybody and it was very hard to watch.
BigStar_Celeb: I’m working in the scenes that I’m in and so a lot of what’s going on in the show I’m totally unaware of.
BigStar_Celeb: It’s different to watch the show than it is to read the script.

castewar_2 asks: You play a lot of peace officers (Cowboy Way, Oz, Mr. Magoo, The Crow, etc.). What’s up with the cop fetish?
BigStar_Celeb: Well, as I said earlier, actors have to be invited to the party, so those are the roles that I’ve been offered that I’ve found interesting enough to do.
BigStar_Celeb: There are about 8 films in the can that I’ve done that haven’t been released.
BigStar_Celeb: You’re never sure if they’ll ever been released.
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve done other things in other films, and I like to think that the character in OZ is different than the policeman in “The Cowboy Way.”
BigStar_Celeb: They’re part of law enforcement but I don’t consider them the same.

BigStar_Celeb: It’s been kind of hard.
BigStar_Celeb: Now, I’m trying to find .. it’s almost like running a race, you run so hard to get to a certain place and if you’re not careful you’ll run right past something!
BigStar_Celeb: I have 4 small children and realize I”ve been gone a lot and I want to give them the time they need before it’s too late.
BigStar_Celeb: Spend time with my wife, our relationship is very important to me.
BigStar_Celeb: I don’t have a lot of hobbies, it’s all about work, I’m putting projects together.
BigStar_Celeb: The entertainment industry can be all consuming if you’re not careful.
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve seen it happen to friends and I don’t want it to happen to me.

hotman1316 asks: do you know how they made the ghosts in ghostbusters?
BigStar_Celeb: Most of it was just computer generated digital … I don’t know how they do that stuff.
BigStar_Celeb: As an actor you don’t need to know, but when they’re shooting the movie they’ll say “There’s going to be a ghost there.”
BigStar_Celeb: You react to it and when you see the movie it’s there.
BigStar_Celeb: When I saw the movie I say, “Oh! That’s what we were doing!”
BigStar_Celeb: I don’t know how they do that stuff, but those guys are very good at what they do.
BigStar_Celeb: As an actor, you try to get as much info as you can and play it as realistically as you can.
BigStar_Celeb: But, most of that stuff is FX.

krbshmschl_El_55345 asks: After you got out of the “River of Slime” What was it like to be covered in all that gunk?
BigStar_Celeb: It was kind of a gelatin .. some kind of food additive.
BigStar_Celeb: It was pretty slimy.
BigStar_Celeb: We were shooting in NY outside and they would freeze up on us .. it was sticky and slimy and it’d freeze and get into your clothes.
BigStar_Celeb: Not a lot of fun!
BigStar_Celeb: When we blew up The Marshmallow Man that was shaving cream.
BigStar_Celeb: It irritated our skin .. Bill Murray got a rash from it.
BigStar_Celeb: But, the slime was kind of like a jello . … it wasn’t bad except when you were outside and it’d freeze up.

rick_h81 asks: Do you own any Ghostbusters memorabilia, Ernie?
BigStar_Celeb: My wife has been … she saved and got all the toys, she tends to keep track of that stuff.
BigStar_Celeb: When I finish a project, I seldom even keep the script .. not much into that.
BigStar_Celeb: And, there was a period when the little boys went through their Ghostbusters stage, when I was a hero at home.
BigStar_Celeb: They have all the toys and posters, but I feel like it’s done and you move on.

EctoOneA asks: Do you own a replica proton pack or have your GB uniform from either of the movies?
BigStar_Celeb: Well, if I did, I probably wouldn’t want to tell the studio!
BigStar_Celeb: But, I have the boots from it … a few things.

Pocamon69 asks: What time does “Oz” come on HBO?
BigStar_Celeb: I think it comes on on Wednesday nights .. but I’m not totally sure.
BigStar_Celeb: They have to check the local TV Guide.
BigStar_Celeb: I believe it’s Wednesday nights though .. someone told me that.
BigStar_Celeb: I haven’t seen it since it started to come back on the air.

adamk55 asks: what is your favorite movie besides the one’s you have been in?
BigStar_Celeb: A lot of them ….
BigStar_Celeb: “Amadeus,” I really liked a lot.
BigStar_Celeb: “As Good As It Gets,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Meet John Doe,” ….
BigStar_Celeb: It’s kind of hard to pick any one.
BigStar_Celeb: “Tootsie,” “Raging Bull.”

strrchld asks: What thing(s) do you contribute to your successful career as a black actor?
BigStar_Celeb: Well, you know, I’m a black man in America.
BigStar_Celeb: So, .. but I guess overall, I don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on that.
BigStar_Celeb: It’s all about work.
BigStar_Celeb: A lot of actors are having a rough time .. black and white.
BigStar_Celeb: It’s hard for me to cry the blues when I know a lot of white actors who aren’t working.
BigStar_Celeb: I think the focus has to be on the work .. there has to be a reason for someone to hire you and that’s cause your work is good.
BigStar_Celeb: I’m not a real social person, so I don’t hang out with important people or go to all the right parties.
BigStar_Celeb: So, the only reason I can imagine someone giving mea job is because the work is good.
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve always trusted the work and I think actors should trust that more than trying to meet someone or play up to them.
BigStar_Celeb: I think it comes down to the work … it’s all about the work.
BigStar_Celeb: I think the condition that we go through .. we have a lot more in common, so when I take on a role it’s the person I’m playing …unless the character’s very conscious of being black.
BigStar_Celeb: But, usually the last thing on my mind is how black I am.
BigStar_Celeb: When I was doing “Congo” people would come up and say “How can you talk that way?”
BigStar_Celeb: And, I said, “If you travel, there are people all over the world and they don’t all sound the same.”
BigStar_Celeb: Movies are about people in situations and I think anybody can be there, unless it specifically says a different type.
BigStar_Celeb: But, the world is a different place now.

Notorious_Tiz asks: Why did you like Amadeus?
BigStar_Celeb: I just thought … it made history come alive for me.
BigStar_Celeb: Up until that point, I’d look back at history and it seemed like other people, another time, they must have been very different.
BigStar_Celeb: Hard for me to relate.
BigStar_Celeb: But, with this film, I could connect with these people .. the humanity was clear to me.
BigStar_Celeb: I got that, and I got them. It was very moving for me to see it that way.
BigStar_Celeb: And, when I took history in school . college, I somehow separated that from me and the past and “Amadeus” somehow made that personal.
BigStar_Celeb: That’s why I’m so interested in doing period pieces I think.

venkmanGhostbuster3 asks: How was it growing up? where you poor? rich
BigStar_Celeb: Well, we were poor but I never realized how poor we were until I grew up and went to college and found out about things like ghettos …
BigStar_Celeb: certainly while I was growing up I never thought “God, we’re so poor!”
BigStar_Celeb: I think it’s a falsehood to think that poor people have less life than wealthy people.
BigStar_Celeb: In some ways, being wealthy is not an advantage .. and being poor is not a disadvantage.
BigStar_Celeb: I had a happy childhood … a painful childhood .. I had all of it. I think most of us do.
BigStar_Celeb: It was not overwhelmingly bad or hard .. I was lonely .. you go all through the things that are life.
BigStar_Celeb: The people around me were busy .. we didn’t think about how difficult it was.
BigStar_Celeb: My mother died when I was 3 months old, I never knew my father, but I didn’t think that was an unusual thing . most of the kids in my neighborhood didn’t have fathers either.
BigStar_Celeb: My grandmother raised me and anything positive in my life, I have to give her credit.
BigStar_Celeb: She was extraordinary.
BigStar_Celeb: But, yeah, I had a … what I assume .. the problem is … when we grow up we assume it’s all the same with everybody.
BigStar_Celeb: I realize everyone’s different, but by my standards I had a great childhood.
BigStar_Celeb: Life is difficult, nobody gets away easy.
BigStar_Celeb: We all have our difficulties …. I had to go without a lot, but it was no big deal ..
BigStar_Celeb: I have a brother who’s three years older, we were talking once and he said he assumed everyone had more money than he did.
BigStar_Celeb: I grew up assuming nobody had more money than me.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I guess it’s how you look at it. I just happen to look at the brighter side I guess.
BigStar_Celeb: It applies to the acting.
BigStar_Celeb: Some of the changes you go through, I’ve seen actors quit the business and give up.
BigStar_Celeb: I haven’t looked at it that way .. I think it’s a great way to make a living and it’s a blessing to be a part of the industry.
BigStar_Celeb: But, if I sat down and thought about all the bad things that have happened and could happen, I’d probably give up, too.
BigStar_Celeb: I’d rather think about all the positive things.

sweet_milk asks: Who was your first love?
BigStar_Celeb: Probably a girl named Sonora Greenwood… I was in 8th grade and just totally captivated by her.
BigStar_Celeb: I asked her to be my girlfriend ….and she said yes and she was my girlfriend for about two weeks.
BigStar_Celeb: Then she quit me because I couldn’t talk to her, I’d fall apart around her and hadn’t had a lot of experience with girls .. I was shy as a kid.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I never had much contact with her from 8th grade through high school, but I always admired her and thought about her.
BigStar_Celeb: I wrote a play about her.
BigStar_Celeb: When I turned 30, I went back to see her, she had married and divorced, we had dinner and talked about our childhood.
BigStar_Celeb: It wasn’t meant to be, but she was always and WILL always be a special part of me.
BigStar_Celeb: From that I learned you have to talk to people!
BigStar_Celeb: You might be overwhelmed but not to the point where you absolutely shut down.

rick_h81 asks: Is OZ just for an American audience? Is HBO gonna give us Aussies a chance to see it?
BigStar_Celeb: No, I think they’ve .. I know sold the show to a lot of countries.
BigStar_Celeb: Not sure if it’s in Australia, but I know Europe, Canada, South America .. being showed throughout the world .. internationally …
BigStar_Celeb: Africa.

Ectoman_GB asks: Do you ever turn down offers so you can spend time with your family?
BigStar_Celeb: Yeah, I have turned down roles.
BigStar_Celeb: But, more honestly, I’ve .. .. when I’ve felt the need to focus on my family .. I raised my two older boys as a single parent and there were times I knew I had to tune into my home.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I’ve always done that.
BigStar_Celeb: Most of the roles I’ve turned down though have been a result of not being able to connect with the project or character.
BigStar_Celeb: It hasn’t really conflicted a lot with me not being able to meet my responsibilities as a husband and father.
BigStar_Celeb: But, if it ever did, I’d definitely be there to support the family over any role or career move.

Nanapoppert asks: If you could take a year off from performing, what would you do?
BigStar_Celeb: If I took a year off, I think I’d … I don’t know what I’d do?!
BigStar_Celeb: I’d focus on the family. I feel now a very strong need to get reacquainted with my wife. We’re close, but I really would like to sort of get back in touch with the child in me and the child in her.
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve been so caught up with career stuff, and she’s been so caught up with raising children and household stuff.
BigStar_Celeb: I’m not sure to be perfectly honest. I have no idea .. I’ve never taken a year off. I have no idea what I’d do. If I ever do, I’d love for it to be a choice.
BigStar_Celeb: If there was a need in myself to fulfill something, I wouldn’t hesitate.
BigStar_Celeb: But, I can do the things I do in my life and continue to work.

LordSol asks: what was your big break that started your career?
BigStar_Celeb: In all honesty, I don’t know if there’s ever really been a “big break.”
BigStar_Celeb: I do work a lot, but in terms of there being a big break, my definition of that in the sense that I’ve seen a lot of actors come along, get a huge push from a film or project or whatever .. there has not been one in my career.
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve moved steadily forward, established myself as an actor, I thought “Ghostbusters” would make my career, give me more roles, make more money.
BigStar_Celeb: But, it had the opposite effect .. I didn’t work for three years and it didn’t give me any monetary gain .. same with Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
BigStar_Celeb: I did “The Great White Hope” in ’75/’76 and that reaffirmed me as an actor. And, through that role it made it clear to me that I could accomplish things as an actor.
BigStar_Celeb: That was a starring role (“Great White Hope”) and I knew I could make a living as an actor.
BigStar_Celeb: That was my big break .. but it certainly wasn’t huge as far as starring roles or money or something like that.

venkmanGhostbuster3 asks: What was the worst job you ever had?
BigStar_Celeb: Acting job? Or just job?
BigStar_Celeb: The worst job I ever had was in high school, my last year, I worked at a Foundry.
BigStar_Celeb: It’s different than a factory .. it’s where they make molds and cast iron .. it’s smoky, dark, dirty, very hard work.
BigStar_Celeb: They pour iron.
BigStar_Celeb: I worked there from 2pm to 12am six days a week.
BigStar_Celeb: I’d go to school in the morning at 8, get out at 12 and run home and change and go to work.
BigStar_Celeb: It was .. my job was to work in a room filled with dirt and shovel dirt into these cups that were on a conveyor belt that took the dirt to the molders.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I had to shovel this thick, black dirt all day.
BigStar_Celeb: I quit cause they wouldn’t let me go to my high school graduation!
BigStar_Celeb: But, I didn’t go to my prom, or dances or football games my senior year cause I was busy shoveling dirt.
BigStar_Celeb: So, sometimes people comment on my shoulders and arms being really developed and I think it’s a result of shoveling dirt that year!

apieter asks: Have you ever taken a role that you later regretted? Which role?
BigStar_Celeb: But, that definitely was the worst job I’ve ever had.
BigStar_Celeb: I did a role on a series for NBC called “Highcliff Manor” and the character’s name was Bambo and he was a voodoo doctor from South Africa who had sailed across the Atlantic ocean in a canoe with Steven McKatty (sp?) who was playing the other role.
BigStar_Celeb: I got the part … I was so thankful to get the role cause I was a single parent, had my sons, and the rent and the phone bills were due so I was happy without even thinking about the implications of it.
BigStar_Celeb: So, when I read for it, everyone laughed really hard and I had the feeling they were laughing at me.
BigStar_Celeb: My first line was “I’m Bambo, the negro.”
BigStar_Celeb: I had gold teeth and an earring.
BigStar_Celeb: After the first week, I knew I couldn’t do it.
BigStar_Celeb: So, finally I went to the producers and said, “I can’t do this. There are a lot of actors that would jump at the chance and thanks but I can’t do it.”
BigStar_Celeb: So, I quit.
BigStar_Celeb: I could justify my kids watching me do this caricature.
BigStar_Celeb: So, the next day they called me and changed the role, Bambo’s name was changed and he had graduated from Oxford so he had a British accent.
BigStar_Celeb: We got rid of the gold tooth and earring.
BigStar_Celeb: I learned from that that you can change things.
BigStar_Celeb: You can say, “Let’s try something different here.”
BigStar_Celeb: I remember doing “Dukes of Hazzard,” I went to read for the show .. the part was pretty good.
BigStar_Celeb: The one guy had all the lines and the other guy was the bodyguard.
BigStar_Celeb: When I got the part, they gave all the lines to the other actor who was a friend of the producer’s.
BigStar_Celeb: So, I was just THERE.
BigStar_Celeb: The flag was a confederate flag, I didn’t realize it was the state flag of Georgia!
BigStar_Celeb: It was just the worst.
BigStar_Celeb: But, I thought, let me just relax, we worked it out and it turned into a good experience.
BigStar_Celeb: I’ve found that if I carry my anger into a situation .. it makes things worse than they are.
BigStar_Celeb: You can change things.
BigStar_Celeb: I did a show with Ted Knight called “Too Close For Comfort,” I had a line on it “Holy Mahalia!”
BigStar_Celeb: I had the hardest time with that, it made no sense.
BigStar_Celeb: We worked on that, but I ‘ve learned that a lot of times you can help the project and the show get to a better place by contributing positively than just assuming that they only want the negative and bring in all your baggage.
BigStar_Celeb: It gets better.

ChickanoGirl asks: where do you see yourself in 5 yrs from now?
BigStar_Celeb: I see myself being in a very good position.
BigStar_Celeb: My younger boys will be ready for college and I’ll be trimmed down to about 190 pounds!
BigStar_Celeb: I’ll be working on only projects that I really care about and I’ll be very secure and happy and doing things that I like to do.
BigStar_Celeb: My life right now is what I”ve always dreamed of .. to be able to work as an actor, make a good living, take care of my family.
BigStar_Celeb: I’m living my dream now, but the other side of that, the place I’d like to get to is just to allow it to happen as opposed to working at it to make it happen .. and trusting that it will be there.
BigStar_Celeb: As opposed to pushing it.
BigStar_Celeb: I’d love to come back … I enjoyed this very much!
BigStar_Celeb: Thank you!
BigStar_Celeb: Bye!

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