Folks were Giving Cuba the Run Around
They weren’t too sure about Gooding for this role. And he didn’t take it too well. In fact, he kind of broke down. Last year, during the film’s 20th anniversary, he was speaking at the Los Angeles Film Festival where he recounted the story.
“After I met John, he said, ‘This is great, we’re going to put you on tape.’ I went home, about a week or two passed and then I got another call saying, ‘We’re going to put you on tape. […] The studio wants you screen tested again. They have other actors in mind.’ So I came back in and screen tested again. And again. I think a total of three times. My agent calls and tells me I get the gig. ‘Come down, you’re going to do two weeks of rehearsal.’ On the first day of rehearsal we’re all sitting around a big table running a scene and John says, ‘Hey, Cuba, come here. They want you to screen test again.’ I was so upset that I went in that room, did my scene and I remember the tears just falling down my face out of frustration. After, they were like, ‘That was great. Don’t worry.’ I went back to rehearse, rehearsed for eight hours. Then someone came up to me and said, ‘Congratulations, you have the job.’ And I said, ‘Until tomorrow!’ I was so upset, I cried like a little girl.”
Honestly, it sounds like the fact that they left Gooding in the dark for so long, is probably what got him this role. Would he have been able to tap into those emotions, if he’d been handed the part too easily? Probably not.