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People V. O.J. Simpson: Cuba Gooding interview

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Cuba Gooding Jr. stopped by EW to talk about all things American Crime Story: getting into character to play O.J. Simpson, learning about the intricacies of the trial through the scripts, and which of his costars he thinks will mesmerize the viewers.

To portray O.J. Simpson, Gooding took an outside-in approach, starting with Simpson’s physicalities and then getting to his thought processes and emotions. 

“I watched a lot of footage of his gait, the way he walked, the way he held himself, the way he just regarded people,” Gooding said. “But then, once I got comfortable enough I go for the mental and emotional truth of the character… I have to get to a blank state emotionally and then project on it whatever the situation calls for.”

But although the actor has done his research on the character, he’s still finding out more about the trial with each new script. “The most surprising things about the trial came with every single script,” he said. “Seriously. I got ten scripts because there’s ten episodes, and there are facts that I thought I knew that I was wrong on, and I was blown away by every read.”

Finally, when asked about which of his costars he thinks will most captivate viewers in the hit FX series, Gooding said three names: John Travolta, Courtney B. Vance, and Sarah Paulson.

“I think John Travolta is channeling Robert Shapiro. I think Courtney B. Vance is channeling Johnnie Cochran. I think watching Sarah Paulson’s performance go from American Horror Story and then morphing into Marcia Clark was, I think, a beauty.”

American Crime Story airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.