Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. says that he was on an emotional roller coaster while portraying O.J Simpson in FX’s ‘American Crime Story.’ During an interview with Larry King he openly discusses the challenges he faced playing disgraced ex-NFL player and why it took him a month get back to a normal frame of mind following the role. He compares the darkness he felt to what Heath Ledger experienced saying,
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 revealed to Larry why he had a nervous breakdown while portraying O.J. Simpson. After filming the funeral scene where O.J. kisses his wife’s corpse, Cuba Gooding, Jr. admits,
I felt such extreme guilt because 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, okay? 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.
Gooding, Jr. was stunned with what he saw when he first received Simpson’s famed suicide note while preparing for the role. He recalls doing research and asking,
Can I get the real suicide note?’ and they go, ‘That is real, sir,’ and I go, ‘No, no, no. This one has a happy face in it,’ and he goes, ‘He put a happy face in the O in OJ.’ And I was like are you kidding me? Yeah. Stuff like that blew me away.
Cuba also admitted to Larry the roles he regretfully turned down, one of them would have been under the direction of the legendary Steven Spielberg. He recalls.
I said no to Spielberg with Amistad.