Now that the fantastic American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson has reached its inevitable conclusion, the cast of the hit FX series must come to terms with the general darkness of the subject matter. For Cuba Gooding Jr., that process may take some time. The phone-eating actor, in a recent interview with FOX411, spoke candidly about the process of depicting the most famous murder trial in American history and its consequences on his personal life.
"[The biggest challenge of the role was] the mindset, the psychosis," Gooding Jr. said of portraying O.J. Simpson. "I remember when Heath Ledger talked about playing the Joker, I always used to look out of the side of my eye going 'Yeah. Actors.'" The American Crime Story experience, Gooding Jr. says, changed his mind about that process. "There really is a darkness when you are playing someone psychotic," the Oscar-winning actor said. "You have to go there mentally. It's almost like we look over a cliff and picture yourself falling so that gives you a fear of it. So this is falling for six months and kind of what that means to you."
As the aforementioned phone diet shows, Cuba Gooding Jr. certainly knows the importance of taking it easy on himself after enduring an emotionally stressful TV shoot. "You literally step away from it and you let go and let God," Gooding Jr. said of the need to make space between the acting process and sheer entertainment. "I think that's probably why I haven't seen any episodes." The Jerry Maguire star also briefly addressed the difficult task of bringing American Crime Story to life in an interview with Larry King back in February, revealing that he actually had a "nervous breakdown" when shooting Nicole Brown's funeral scene.
The best medicine for shaking off the darkness of a harrowing acting experience? More of this:
The dawning of the Schwimmerssance, of course, should also help.