Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Gooding Jr felt pressure from Oscar

Cuba Gooding Jr is starring in The Trip To Bountiful at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York
Cuba Gooding Jr is starring in The Trip To Bountiful at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York

Cuba Gooding Jr has confessed he felt under pressure after winning an Academy Award and admits he made some bad choices with his career afterwards.

The 45-year-old actor - who is currently starring on Broadway in The Trip To Bountiful - shot to fame after picking up the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1996 for his role in romantic comedy Jerry Maguire as an energetic sports star whose catchphrase was "Show me the money!"

Cuba confessed: "There was so much expectation after I won the Oscar. And so many opinions that floated around, and the negativity about me and my choices. And there were some missteps on my part - I was saying 'no' to a lot of good directors that I shouldn't have.

"Now that I'm at this creative place, I understand the path God put me on. He put me where I'm supposed to be right now. Now if there's anything to prove, it's that that first promise of my ability was correct and I'm ready to engage again."

Speaking about his new stage role he said: "This is what made me fall in love with acting. Now it's like I'm living that again and I finally feel awakened. That euphoria of doing roles is what I was born from."

Besides the Broadway role, Cuba 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, and an untitled film about runaway slaves. He'll also be in Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills.

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

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Expanding your horizons isn't possible right now. There are lots of mundane responsibilities that require your attention. Neglecting these duties will create enemies. People are relying on you to pull your weight. The sooner you tackle your work, the faster you will be able to enjoy some leisure time. Catching up on your reading, playing a sport or watching a movie will help you wind down. There are worse things than being held captive by a regular routine.More