CUBA GOODING JR.
It became one of the most sensational murder trials in history when, in 1994, former football star O. J. Simpson was prosecuted for the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Now it will be event TV when FX premieres its 10- episode miniseries The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime
Story on Feb. 2. Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr., 48, tackles the role of the fallen gridiron legend.
How did you approach playing O.J.? I had met him back in his heyday. I’m a football fan, and I know his career with the [Buffalo] Bills, and that he’s a Heisman Trophy winner, so my focus was to portray him with star magnitude and charisma, and as a polarizing figure.
What was it like to work with co-star John Travolta, who plays defense attorney Robert Shapiro? You want to make sure that you come to the set prepared. It raises the stakes for everybody involved. Off camera, it was wonderful to sit and hear him tell stories of his amazing encounters with other icons in the business.
Did this experience change your opinion as to O.J.’s guilt or innocence? From day to day, script to script, I would have conflicting opinions. I tell people, “We’re not here to convince you of his guilt or innocence, but I guarantee after you see these 10 hours you’ll understand how they came to the verdict.”
How did Gooding research his role as O.J. Simpson? Go to to find out.