Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Latest Updates

April 23, 2013

Cuba Gooding Jr., onstage and in 'creative place'


The last time Gooding was onstage he was a teenager, winning a monologue competition arranged by the Los Angeles Unified School District with a speech from "Twelfth Night." An agent was impressed and "the rest is history."

He went on to do a string of guest spots and commercials — he got his Screen Actors Guild card with "Hill Street Blues" and played the sidekick of "MacGyver" for a season. His first film part was a small role in "Coming to America" — "my lines were cut so I looked like an extra," he laughs — and then he got the lead in 1991's brilliant coming-of-age drama "Boyz n the Hood."

"I didn't know how important that movie was until I looked back on my career a few years into it," Gooding says. "I went, 'Wow, not all of my movies are going to be received like that?' It was a rude awakening."

Besides the Broadway role, Gooding has three movies he's very proud of that are coming out. There's "The Butler," Lee Daniels' story about a black butler who worked in the White House for over three decades; Jake Goldberger's "Life of a King," about an inner-city chess club that Gooding calls "my answer to 'Boyz n the Hood'''; and an untitled film about runaway slaves that he calls "emotionally raw." He'll also be in Robert Rodriguez's "Machete Kills."

"I realize the older I get, when I'm not being creative is when I'm frustrated," he says. "If you have talent, that's all that matters. And if you focus on your craft, your talent will show."


Text Only
Latest Updates