Cuba Gooding Jr. is back on the big screen this month in "Red Tails" and his role might seem familiar. The film, which follows the story of a celebrated crew of African American pilots called to duty in World War II, is based off of Gooding's 1995 HBO movie "The Tuskegee Airmen."
The 44-year-old actor, who won an Oscar for his role in "Jerry Maguire" spoke to The Huffington Post about "Red Tails," throwing up in an airplane cockpit and the outrageous question his dad once asked Tom Cruise.
Tell me about "Red Tails."
It's about the exploits of the Tuskegee airmen who were an all-black fighter squadron during World War II who were bomber escorts for the B-17, B-24 bombers as they raided Berlin. The military was having a high casualty rate before and when [the airmen] started escorting, the fatality rates went down. "Red Tails" is the action-adventure exploration of that spectacle that is the aerial combat between German Messerschmitt and the Tuskegee airmen, also known as the Red Tails.
Did you get to fly a lot while filming?
I did when I did the first movie ["The Tuskegee Airmen"]. We had to do our own boot camp and training. I got put with a professional pilot who put me in the cockpit and did loops and spirals.
Did you ever throw up?
Was there vomit splattered all over the cockpit?
They tell you, "There's the bag. If you have to throw up, grab it." You know when you need to throw up, you've got like six or seven seconds before it happens. But here's the thing: When you fly in these things, they put these masks on your face. If you throw up, you've got to take the mask off, then you've got to put that mask back on. I'm not putting it on again with that smell! It's brutal.
Have you had a day in your life since "Jerry Maguire" when someone hasn't yelled out, "Show me the money"?
No, not one day. It just happened now. There are probably times in everyone's lives where they're just dealing with whatever they're dealing with, but it's a compliment.
Have you ever wanted to say, "Wow, that's the first time anyone has said that to me"?
I've said that a couple of times. I say, "Well, that's original!" It's all in jest; after a while you learn to deal with it. It's funny. My first film was "Boyz n the Hood" and people would yell, "Tre, show me the gun!" And my dad said to me, "You might only ever be known as Tre so get used to it." I thought, "Wow, he's right," and then "Show me the money" came. I had a nice preparation for it, I guess.
You told Howard Stern that your dad once asked Tom Cruise if he was gay. Is that true?
You bet your ass. I could have shit myself. I was thinking, "Ok! Let's go!" The best thing about Tom is he just kept on laughing.
Were you like, "Dad! WTF?"
Of course! He said, "Well you shouldn't have invited me because you know I speak the truth."
Does he always say inappropriate stuff?
Every day! Welcome to Thanksgiving at the Goodings'.
Who is your celebrity crush?
I don't have one. I'm married 23 years -- why would I have a celebrity crush?
Well, it's not real. I don't think you're really going to date that person!
You know who I really have a crush on? Daniel Day Lewis. That son of a bitch is the baddest man ever. That picture of him in character as Lincoln, ooh! If I have to have a crush, it's on him.