When you’ve been in the business as long as actor Ernie Hudson has, it’s not unusual for a creative to step up their game and tackle other challenges in the Hollywood game. For Hudson—known for his iconic role in “Ghostbusters” and currently featured in Netflix’s original movie “Nappily Ever After” and the series “Grace and Frankie” he decided to step into the role of Executive Producer on the “Carl Weber’s The Family Business,” now playing on BET Networks.
The eight-part drama is based on The New York Times best-selling author’s most popular family crime drama novel. He also has a starring role in the series. Originally developed and produced as an indie film franchise, BET has licensed the content to air in an “explosive manner” according to the press notes that were provided for this story.
Get ready and say hello to the Duncans, a prominent family from Jamaica, Queens living fast and luxurious. By day, they’re an upstanding family; by night, they live a dangerous secret life. The patriarch of the family, L.C. Duncan (Ernie Hudson), is at the age when he’s starting to think about retirement and has to decide which of his children should take over his thriving exotic car dealership. The Duncans quickly come under siege from some of the top politicians, mafia and drug cartels in the city. The Duncans will have to stick together or die separately.
In episode one entitled “We Are At War,” L.C. Duncan (Ernie Hudson) has decided it’s finally time to pass on the mantle of leadership. All this during a time when their Asian supplier has cut them off, and their rivals are threatening to put them out of business.
Ernie Hudson joins Valarie Pettiford (Charlotte Duncan), Armand Assante (Sal Dash), and Emilio Rivera (Alejandro). “Carl Weber’s The Family Business,” is also executive produced by Nikaya D. Brown Jones for Tri Destined Studios and Carl Weber for Urban Books Media who also serve as the showrunners. Weber singlehandedly penned all of the content. Additionally, Along with Hudson BET’s Connie Orlando and Maureen Guthman serve as Executive Producers. Trey Haley (The Man in 3B, The Preacher’s Son) serves as director and co-executive producer for Tri Destined Studios.
Weber’s The Family Business novel, published in 2012, is the first in a series of novels under the same title. In fact, this first title launched eight books in what has been a popular and ongoing series about the travails of the Duncan family. The book series has sold over 3 million copies.
Here is an edited interview with actor and executive producer, Ernie Hudson.
Los Angeles Sentinel: We meet again! You spoke about Weber’s The Family Business novels when I interviewed you for NAPPILY EVER AFTER. You were awesome in that Netflix film by the way, and producer Tracey Bing had so many nice things to say about you, FYI.
Ernie Hudson: I remember you. Did she [Bing]? That was a great project. You are right, I am very excited about everything that Carl [Weber] has written.
LAS: You have an EP title on Carl Weber’s “The Family Business”, that’s great! Why?
EH: I’ve worked a lot over the last 50 years in television and film. When I read Carl Weber’s books, there are eight novels in this series about this dynamic Black family, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. My role as EP is really me, doing whatever I can do to help bring awareness to help him and the production company bring this into fruition. It deals with a lot of issues that I think I see in society.
It might not seem like it at first glance because the story is around a family that owns the largest exotic car dealership in the country, which is a legitimate business. They also have some unlawful activities that the Patriarch, L.C. Duncan, that I play has used to build his venture and to bring his entire family into the family business. But it dealt with family, for me.
LAS: What is the core of the story?
EH: Family. How do you leave a legacy for your children and yet become aware that all those people, that you pushed aside to build this thing are waiting for the right opportunity to come in and you become weaker, and you think you can just walk away into the sunset [yet] those forces don’t let that happen very easily. So the big question is how do you not have your children pay the price for your [past] choices?
EH: Carl Webber is amazing. He has his own publishing company (the Urban Books Media) and his novels are really amazing. I would encourage you to read them. He teamed up with Trey Haley who directed two movies, and these are [the] movies that BET has decided to tell but in an eight-part series. Trey’s company is Tri Destined Studios. It’s an amazing group of talented people.
LAS: The cast is predominately African-American. That’s nice.
EH: (laughing) Yes, it is. I think often times as an African-American it’s hard finding those roles that give you a chance to show a 360-degree character and these are great roles.
LAS: Did the author of the books, Carl Webber, also write the screenplay?
EH: Yes, he did. It’s amazing because a lot of people can’t make that transition. I am impressed with Carl Webber. A lot of people talk about some stuff but here is a guy who actually does it.
I grew up in a household where my mother died when I was a baby. I never knew my dad. My grandmother raised me in Church. But Carl is a guy who grew up with his family and was very close to his dad who taught him a lot about business. Carl, in addition to owning the Urban Book Media, has a [company] that buys and fixes up properties. He also has a handful of friends that he went to elementary school with [and] these are all Black men who are there for each other. I’ve heard people talk about it but to see these guys who built their businesses. I had to take my hat off [to them]. It’s really impressive. I’m still learning from Carl and all of the people that he surrounds himself with. It’s Black folks doing things. Making things happen. Like I said earlier, people talk but they do it!
Carl Weber is the author of titles such as “The Preacher’s Son,” “So You Call Yourself a Man,” Something on the Side,” “Up to No Good,” “Big Girls Do Cry,” “Torn Be- tween Two Lovers” and “She Ain’t the One.”
He is the publisher and editorial director of Ur- ban Books CEO of Urban Books Media, which is currently producing films based on several of his bestselling novels