As he shifts to directing, Cuba Gooding Jr. reflects on his career's brightest and darkest moments

On "Salon Talks," Cuba Gooding Jr. reflected on his career-making roles and shared that his most impactful performances are directly connected to the personal journey he was experiencing at that moment in his life. The Oscar winner is currently starring on Broadway in the musical "Chicago" and is making his directorial debut with "Bayou Caviar," in theaters October 5.

"I was always in the position to be that character in real life, like the line of reality and fantasy were blurred so much," Gooding Jr. said of his best roles, ranging from Tre in "Boyz in Hood" to his Academy Award-winning performance in "Jerry Maguire" opposite Tom Cruise, to "Men of Honor" with Robert De Niro, to his shocking portrayal as O.J. Simpson in "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story."

"I was Tre back then going from a breakdancer to being a lead in the movie, and Tre going from the ghetto to college and making it out of this violent society," Gooding Jr. told SalonTV, "Or Rod Tidwell once being a star, falling off and then finally getting the big contract. Me having played Tre in 'Boyz in the Hood,' being a star and then going down and then all of a sudden winning the Oscar was kind of like Rod getting the contract."

He continued, "Even with O.J. Simpson, him going through the separation with his wife and having a young daughter, I just went through separation with my wife and I have a young daughter. All of these characters seem to touch at something personal in my life."

Watch the video above to hear more about how Gooding Jr. prepared to play Billy Flynn in "Chicago" on Broadway and why his dream directing project involves a little-known story about ice hockey.

Photography by Jill Greenberg. Watch Jill's TedxTalk on the Female Lens and the problem with only seeing the world from a man's perspective. And find out more about Jill's initiative Alreadymade., a mission to hire more female photographers and content creators.

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About "Salon Talks": Hosted by Salon journalists, "Salon Talks" episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. "Salon Talks" is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on YouTube and

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