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Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba Gooding, Jr., who plays Dorie Miller in Pearl Harbor
Photograph courtesy Touchstone Pictures



CUBA GOODING, JR.
 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO PLAY A REAL-LIFE CHARACTER? WHAT KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE?

It’s always an immense responsibility to portray a character who’s real, who’s a part of history. I’m sure he has family surviving and they never go a day without thinking about him and they want his image respected. So you always think about that when you’re portraying a character. You try to give him as much dignity and poise as possible.

From an acting point of view this is a character--like [the one I played in] Men of Honor--who a lot of people aren’t familiar with. So his mannerisms and his character traits are things that I bring to the screen. And it gives me a little poetic license. It gives me freedom to create a character. People can immerse themselves in the reality without being distracted by certain movements or a look that he might have that they’re accustomed to or acquainted with. So it was his actions that I think really stood out. And as an actor it’s always great to portray that.

It’s just an incredibly emotional moment. And you think about what it must have been like for those men, to have been in the water. Or for Dorie to have seen them--to have been that person.

DID YOU LEARN A LOT MAKING THE MOVIE?

Yeah, I didn’t know a lot of the details of what really went down, and doing the research for the movie I really did get an understanding of what went down at Pearl Harbor.

It was pretty amazing to me, how the [U.S.] Navy was so misinformed on the fact that we were even going to war. It was little elements like that that really blew me away.

 

 
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