Cuba Gooding Jr
One of my favourite films as a teenager was Boys ’n the Hood. I suppose this film created a romantic realism of living the hard life in the US, a stark comparison to my suburban upbringing in Norway. In a time when the hardship of the American Black community was highlighted, a little before the LA riots, the film felt poignant and realistic. The star of that film was Cuba Gooding Jr. His acting and Laurence Fishburn (who played his dad) were especially impressive.
Later Cuba stood out in two films/series especially: In Jerry Maguire for which he won an Oscar, and the TV drama The People v OJ Simpson, American Crime Story. In both films he played a successful sportsman with delusions of grandeur.
Cuba had been in the UK for a week when the shoot took place in a small studio in Hackney Wick. I found myself in a slight surreal situation as I ran out between the warehouse buildings in the streets of Hackney Wick to get him from a taxi, lost in the trendified industrial district. The location was near by the Olympic Village in Stratford, where he was rehearsing for the West End show Chicago. Cuba has got the lead male roll of Billy Flynn. We caught him at the end of a long day rehearsing and the physical exertion, as well as being jet lagged, meant we had a very chilled Cuba in front of the camera.
Despite not having the energy that we can see Cuba project in some films and in the show Chicago, he did pull out a few characteristic Cuba smiles, the birdie was shown and he took well to my directions. A good achievement considering he’d probably much prefer lying down in his hotel bed, feet up, watching a film about suburban Oslo; perhaps exotic for someone who was born in Brooklyn, NY?