Ernie Hudson: A Voice of Faith
The veteran actor, currently of NBC's "Heroes" and known for past roles in "Ghostbusters" and HBO's "Oz," talks about his new audio Bible project and his issues with how spirituality is portrayed on "Heroes."
BY: Dena Ross
Do you think this dramatization of the Bible is going to affect people different than when or if they just read it?
Yeah, I think there's an upside and a downside. The downside is when you read a book—any book, not just the Bible—you have these characters already in your mind. It sort of plays out. And then, when you hear them being portrayed by certain voices, it may change. It's almost like seeing a video of a song. When you had your own image going, then you see the video....
But, I think it helps some people to bring it to life. There are certain people who maybe have difficulties with the language, reading or writing. It's very hard sometimes to take these characters and give them the human quality. And so, when you hear the characters being portrayed by the different voices, the sound effects, I think it gives another dimension to the Bible that a lot of people have never really experienced. So it would be very helpful.
For some people who do have a really strong imagination, they may find they like their own image better. But, for a lot of people, to be able to, in their car or to be able to sit and listen and hear the different voices, I think it'll bring it to life in a very different way.
And the fact that they're probably familiar with the voices of their favorite celebrities, I think that's going to help, too.
What celebrities hope is that people identify not so much that they're particularly special or different, but they identify with them. We represent life in general, the guy who does whatever. So, hearing the voices, it helps put them in context of modern day. These were people just like we're people.
Did playing the role of Peter give you a new perspective on your own faith?
Every day sort of helps bring that into more clarity. Every time you think you reach a certain point, life unfolds in a way and you kind of go, wow, I see it from a broader perspective, there's a little more light that sort of comes in.
Playing the character and just being involved in this project sort of deepened or opened it up in a even more revealing way and just brought more awareness to his commitment to Christ and his commitment to his faith and to his fellow man. It made me more aware of just my commitment to Christ, to my fellow man, to all that we are as human beings living this experience.
You recently joined the cast of "Heroes." Can you tell us a little bit about your new role? Were you familiar with the show before you signed on?
I wasn't before I signed on. After they asked me to come and do it they weren't very clear in terms of what my involvement would be. They have this secrecy surrounding [the show], so I can't really tell you a whole lot, but I knew that I'd be playing a detective and investigating some strange events.
I went and got the video of the first season and watched the show, and thought it was an interesting perspective. It helped me sort of understand what I'm dealing with. Except for being a detective, they told me absolutely nothing about the character.
It turned out to be fun to do. The people who do the show are very creative, nice people. So, I had a great time on it. But, it's a different perspective.
Do you find the show spiritual at all? Do you think God is a character on that show or is God absent?
The guys who are putting the show together are probably just trying to put the show together. And sometimes I think they want to bring a faith element into it, and other times they don't care. They're just trying to make a show and to make some money. That's the reality of the television that we see.
What I get from my study of the Bible is that we're all in Christ, that we're all the same in God's eyes.
And this is a show that's dedicated to saying certain people are special and God--or whatever you believe in--chooses to give them special powers. Not just intuitive special powers, but literally special powers that they can do all these things. And that separates them from everyone else.
I, for one, don't believe in separation, because then it gets into God playing favorites and who's more special. We try to figure it out, and then it doesn't become very Christian to me. That's the problem I have with the show. It's very entertaining, but it's very hard for me to make the connection, because the whole concept is a separation of these special people with special abilities. God either is playing a game with them or there's something else going on. I don't know. That's just my take.