Cuba Gooding, Jr. recently admitted that he learned a lot about O.J. Simpson as he was preparing to play him in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Gooding is taking on a larger than life character in The People v. O.J. Simpson. Much of the controversial NFL player's life has played out in the public eye, but Gooding has attempted to look beyond that.
The actor spoke with Variety recently about what he's learned about Simpson since taking the role, suggesting that he's developed a deeper understanding.
"I had formed my opinion of what I thought happened based on facts I assumed to be facts, and when I researched it I was just wrong about a lot of stuff. I don't want to tip it," he admitted.
"But when you see the episodes you'll come away with the same feeling. When he dies, if they're allowed to autopsy his brain, they'll find the concussion syndrome. I believe that. If you listen to the 911 tapes, his violent behavior. You look at his pro career in high school records that stand today. In college he broke rushing records. He won the Heisman trophy. In the NFL he rushed for 2000 plus yards. And it's only been done by six other people. Those people did it in 16 game seasons - he did it in 14 games. The abuse his brain took... I'm not saying that should excuse him or prove he did or didn't do it. But it definitely explains the final behavior that he expressed, the braggadocious aggressiveness in his demeanor."
Gooding is also confident that The People v. O.J. Simpson is relevant in today's culture, even if took place 20 years ago.
"Artistry enables people to understand 'we hear you. We're as frustrated as you are. Let's talk and open this dialogue.' I think that's what this show does."
American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.