When acclaimed actor Ernie Hudson was first asked about TV One’s “To Hell and Back,” an original movie updating the story of Job, he wasn’t really interested. It took an amazing script from Rhonda Baraka, and knowing that the religious grandmother who raised him would approve to get him to sign on. This take on the biblical tale of a devout man caught in the middle of a bet between God and the devil premieres April 4.
Hudson admitted he’s gone through times: “I’ve been a single dad. My first marriage was challenging. I’ve gone through the cancer stuff. I just trust in my God. That’s what my faith is in. It’s not in anything material and certainly not in anyone … but I would never want to experience what [Job] went through.”
The veteran, who has shown his range in “The Crow,” “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle,” “Congo” and “Oz,” continues to work steadily with recurring roles on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” and Netflix’ yet-to-air series “Grace and Frankie” with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Sam Waterston. He also just landed the part of Whoopi Goldberg’s love interest in the sure to be picked up ABC pilot “Delores and Jermaine.”
Yet he believes the black actors in demand storyline this season may be overrated. “There’s a success that Shonda Rhimes is having that is unprecedented,” Hudson said. “So maybe there is a change. Unfortunately when the studios begin to look around, a lot of the stars are from other places like London and other countries. So it doesn’t necessarily open doors for guys who are here. A lot of guys I’ve been working with for the last 15 to 20 years are still looking for a role.”
Hudson made headlines last fall when TMZ reported his dissatisfaction with rumors of an all-female reboot of his biggest movie, “Ghostbusters.” He claims he was misinterpreted. “I said that I didn’t think it’s what the fans were expecting. I think [they] were looking for, as best we could, the original cast. It was taken as I basically said I didn’t want to see women. Now I heard they’re going to do an all-male version. I don’t know why you need two movies, but hey, I’m not in the business part of it.”
In the 20-plus years they’ve been talking about another sequel, Hudson has never seen a script, or been in on any discussions, despite being announced as being on board. “I think they just assume they know they can get Ernie Hudson and they’re right,” he said. “If the money’s right, they can get Ernie Hudson.”
Whether he is involved or another African-American takes the role, he hopes it isn’t marginalized as the guy who has to do the black jokes. “I want it to be played as a human being,” Hudson said. “Some comedians are funny but they do this whole black thing — my life’s different, my life sucks because I’m black. Whatever! I don’t get that. I am a black man, an African American or whatever term people want to use, but I don’t wake up every morning stressing over that. I live my life and my life is as valid as any life.”
CLIPPETTES: Rihanna will be filmed for an upcoming documentary by her “Battleship” director Peter Berg…
The second of the monthly Eric Benet & Friends series hits April 3 at the Conga Room with Cee-Lo, Goapele, Angie Fisher, V. Bozeman from “Empire” and host Chris Spencer…
We heard some time ago that Tony Grant (“Love Thy Neighbor”) was going to shoot a feature film in South Carolina. Now comes word that “Nephew Tommy” Miles will co-star in the drama as a lawyer…
Congrats to Cheo Hodari Coker for being named executive producer and showrunner of the Netflix series “Marvel’s Luke Cage.” As a publicist, I used to pitch to him while he was with the L.A. Times…
Comic (and Bill Cosby whistleblower) Hannibal Burress is getting his own Comedy Central show in July to be called “Why?”…
Bravo announced two “Real Housewives of Atlanta” spinoffs: “NeNe and Kim: Road to Riches” and “Meet The Tuckers” with Kandi and Todd…
TASTY QUIP: “You get to see the raw version of us. I’m a raw dude. No one gets to see comedians backstage and at home.” — BRANDON T. JACKSON on his upcoming Esquire Network reality show “Comedians of Los Angeles.” Jackson also replaces Larenz Tate this fall in Craig Robinson’s NBC sitcom.
TC ON TV: April 3 — “Live from Lincoln Center” (PBS): “Billy Porter: Broadway & Soul”
April 5 — “Black Girls Rock” (BET): Cicely Tyson, Ava DuVernay, Erykah Badu and Jada Pinkett Smith are among the honorees; with performances by Jill Scott, Fantasia, Sheila E, Lalah Hathaway and Faith Evans. Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King return to host. “The 30th annual Stellar Awards” (TV ONE): Featuring a Destiny’s Child reunion!
April 6 — “Live with Kelly & Michael” (ABC): Michelle Obama & Anthony Anderson.
April 8 — “The Daily Show” (COMEDY): Tavis Smiley.
TASTY QUIP: “There is a great line in Lawrence of Arabia. Anthony Quinn. ‘The Turks pay me a golden treasure, yet I am poor because I am a river to my people.’ I just love that line. So I’m getting a T-shirt made: I AM A RIVER TO MY PEOPLE. I just love that line. I want to take care of people. I want to help people. The maximum joy that I have is when I can create something that makes someone else’s life lighter, brighter, or better. And I’m past cars and jewelry, you know? I don’t even wear a watch.” — WILL SMITH to Esquire.
“Tasty Clips” is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists on television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com.