Last night on FX, the first episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson premiered and it did not disappoint.
Despite what initially came across as a comical cast with Ross Geller playing Robert Kardashian and the existence of John Travolta, it was a captivating 80 minutes. We’ve even reviewed it already! And it sure didn’t take long for the show to bring you right back to the chilling moment of the infamous Bronco “chase” that interrupted the NBA Finals.
It was such a surreal sequence of events that are so etched in our brains it almost doesn’t matter who played who in this mini-series. Which brings us to the centerpiece, O.J. Simpson, as portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr.
The dude was apparently so deeply entrenched in this role, it took him over a month to fully bounce back and completely detach himself from the experience of playing Orenthal James Simpson. Here’s Gooding Jr. on the Bronco chase scene:
That Bronco scene represented not only his present state of mind, but what he was looking to become. I’m sure O.J., in that moment in the back seat, thought one of two things: Either he was going to die or he was going to be incarcerated. An athlete goes to their support system when they need something. They go to their huddle. And here you have the clock running and he can’t get to the huddle. It was that desperation and that insanity that I allowed to propel me through. It was a psychosis that I allowed myself to indulge in […] Once you put yourself in it your body believes it. Everyone keeps asking why I’m so hoarse. It took me a month to get out of the mindset of O.J.
Man, Cuba got in deep. While it doesn’t look like he lifted one weight in preparation for the role, it sounds like he took the Daniel Day-Lewis route and did everything he could to become O.J. Simpson until filming concluded. And he certainly paid the price, but hopefully that means some magic lies ahead. The next episode is centered around the aforementioned Bronco chase, so that should be a good indicator.
Gooding Jr. went on to say that once O.J. passes away, an autopsy of his brain would more than likely show signs of CTE and assist in explaining Simpson’s violent behavior that was evident well before the NFL Hall of Famer was accused of murder.
NOTE: Each Wednesday there will be a full breakdown of the latest episode.