Cuba Gooding Jr. recently spoke about inhabiting the role of O.J. Simpson for the FX miniseries American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Gooding Jr. had a surprisingly emotional time while playing Simpson in the critically acclaimed miniseries. The actor spoke with Parade in a new interview about how the miniseries ended up changing his opinion on various factors in the case.
"It changed every day. It changed with every bit of research, every book, every new script. It was an emotional roller-coaster. I remember the day we shot the funeral scene when O.J. kissed Nicole. I wept when we broke for lunch," he admitted. "And I was looking at myself in the mirror thinking, what the f- are you doing? Why are you so emotional? I think it was because of my guilt. I never grieved for those two families and their loss. It all hit me that day in that scene with the Goldmans and the Browns. Their children are gone from them. I felt a guilt about that."
Gooding Jr. also admitted that he wasn't interested in perfectly capture every Simpson mannerism; rather, he hoped to get to the emotional core of the infamous NFL star.
"As an actor it's my job for you to get lost in the truth of what you're seeing. My physical being influences you in a way which I wish it wouldn't. I wish the character's image did. I didn't concern myself about doing an impersonation of a famous character," he said. "Because it's one of those things where you're watching somebody and saying, 'oh, yeah, no, no. That's not him. See that.' My job is to find the truth through the character's emotional core. And if I'm truthful through that emotion, you will experience what that character experienced."
The People v. O.J. Simpson focused heavily on the media's role in Simpson's murder trial, particularly Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance) and the defense team frequently using them to create a narrative, and on the flip side, the vicious treatment of Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson). The miniseries also alludes to the Kardashian family's future media success.
"I believe this trial made everybody, no matter how small, a celebrity," Gooding Jr. observed. "I think of it as the birth of reality TV."