CUBA GOODING Billy Flynn in Chicago until November 18 - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Thursday, October 11, 2018

CUBA GOODING Billy Flynn in Chicago until November 18

CUBA GOODING Billy Flynn in Chicago until November 18
"Bayou Caviar”—his directorial debut—now playing

Cuba Gooding Jr. has a larger-than-life personality so it’s not a stretch that he was cast as the Billy Flynn the smooth-talking lawyer in the Prohibition-era musical, Chicago, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse.

Last month on one of the muggiest days of September a special press day event was held to introduce journalists and bloggers to the Oscar winner.  Fresh from a successful run of the aforementioned musical on London’s West End he was poised to tackle the same role on Broadway for a limited run that began, October 6 and will end on November 18th. 

Gooding made his Broadway theater debut in 2013 in the Tony Award-nominated drama The Trip to Bountiful with Tony winner Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams.

That was only part of the news that Gooding Jr. delivered because the Oscar winner and Emmy nominee were promoting his new film "Bayou Caviar” which opened in select cities this month.  The indie film marks the very first time he took on the role of director and which he also co-wrote. 

Cuba Gooding Jr.'s breakthrough role was as Tre Styles in the feature film "Boyz n the Hood" (1991) but for  many people of a certain generation, he will be best remembered for his Oscar-winning role as an American football player who wants his agent to “show me the money” in "Jerry Maguire" (1997) . Uttering that (now) iconic line placed Gooding in the pop-culture lexicon but  not one to simply rest on his laurels he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-series or a Movie for his performance as OJ Simpson in “The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” (2016).  He has also appeared in “As Good as It Gets” (1997), “Men of Honor” (2000), “Pearl Harbor “(2001), “American Gangster” (2007), “The Butler” (2013), and “Selma” (2014).   

Here is an edited conversation with the award-winning actor, screenwriter and now film director Cuba Gooding Jr. 

AMNews Curtain Raiser:
From London’s West End and back to Broadway in the same role-playing Billy Flynn in Chicago.  Please, share your thoughts. 

Cuba Gooding Jr.:
So excited.  The last time I was on Broadway was in 2013 with Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams [Trip To Bountiful] and now I’m doing a musical.  A musical that’s been on stages around the world for 20-some, odd years with a [life] orchestra behind me it’s amazing.  

Moving from the topic of Broadway to film.  And now you are a film director! How? What? When”

Yes, I am making my directorial debut. How? My agents sent me a script that I liked and I decided to re-write it and direct it. What is the film, “Bayou Caviar” and along with directing I also star in the film with Famke Janssen and Richard Dreyfuss. It’s about power,  money, sex, and corruption and when is October 5th.  

I love directing. I love it.  I’ve been honest and telling people that now, I would rather direct. As an actor, there is always a bit of insecurity because you create this character and you hope that they [director] interpret it the way that you want them to. But as a director, you get to manipulate not only your performance but everyone else around you. It’s like this drug that you get because now you literally get to tell a story that gets to an audience the way you envisioned it. 

Cuba Gooding Jr. now on Broadway as Billy Flynn in Chicago until November 18.  “Bayou Caviar” now playing in select cities

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