[WATCH] Cuba Gooding Jr. Talks Emotional Rollercoaster and Challenges Playing O.J. Simpson

Oscar-winning actor details nervous breakdown and other career highs and lows

Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. recently talked with Larry King on his show, Larry King Now, to discuss his experience portraying one of the most infamous ex-football legends and his top career moments.

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Gooding, who portrays O.J. Simpson in FX’s American Crime Story, which has seen high ratings and reintroduced a new generation to a 20-year-old high-profile case that, though Simpson was acquitted of murder charges, still holds contention in the hearts and minds of those who watched and lived through the trial.

Gooding openly discussed challenges he faced after playing the role and talked about how it took a month get back to a normal frame of mind after the role. “I remember Heath Ledger said after he played the Joker character that it was just a darkness he couldn’t shake, and I always thought that was kind of BS. I was like, ‘You’re an actor. You’re supposed to go in and out. But it’s true Larry. I’m telling you.”

He also said he had a nervous breakdown while portraying O.J. Simpson. He says that after filming the funeral scene where O.J. kisses his wife’s corpse, he felt such
“extreme guilt.” “I remember celebrating the ‘not guilty’ verdict because I didn’t care if he did it or not. I didn’t want another black man to be railroaded, OK?” he said. “So here I was in that moment realizing I never grieved for those families. I could celebrate that, but I can’t take into consideration the Goldman family, the Brown’s and it just hit me.”

Cuba also talked to King about winning the Oscar and how he got the role in Jerry Maguire, and the roles he regrets turning down in the past. “I said no to Spielberg with Amistad,” he recalled.

Watch the interview below via Ora TV: