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Cuba Gooding Jr. Webchat
The Red Tails star shows us the answers

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A man you'd want with you in a dogfight - an aeroplane dogfight, not one with actual dogs mind - Cuba Gooding Jr. has returned to the skies in George Lucas's new World War II flick Red Tails. The one-time The Tuskegee Airmen knows his way around a fighter cockpit, but does he know his way around a web cockpit? Once we'd figured out what that even is, we hit him with your questions on everything from his Oscar night experience to his relationship with Reebok.

Cuba Gooding Jr. Webchat

filmfanatic123 says: Do you prefer smaller TV-style projects, or the bigger budget Hollywood productions (considering that you went from Red Tails to Firelight?)
Well, my first comment would be that I want as many people to experience the work as possible, so the bigger form would be preferred, but I think my first attraction is the material, no matter what the distribution pattern.

elab49 says: I liked the original HBO film about the Tuskegee Airmen, which you also starred in. Do you feel Red Tails brings something different to the story than your earlier film? And did the film change after the original director left, with a new director and writer on board?
Yes, and yes! The first film focused on the racism they had to overcome during the training, the military training, and their exploits in Tuskegee, Alabama. Red Tails is a celebration of their heroism and courage during their amazing accomplishments and achievements in the war effort. Visually, you will feel like you’re in one of the cockpits of these fighter planes because of the George Lucas stamp.

Boz says: What do you say to criticisms of George Lucas as a director? Did you find him insightful and collaborative during Red Tails? PS You were the best non-Robert De Niro character in Men Of Honour.
It's ultimately a George Lucas statement on the exploits of the Tuskegee airmen
Ffirst off, thank you for the compliment. And Lucas is a living icon. That's a powerful statement to make, the ramifications of which are both positive and negative. His presence, be it on the set or just in a casual conversation, makes people want to sit up a little straighter, so it caused for a real focused intensity in terms of everybody's contribution in the actual film. His fingerprints were on everything, and he was very specific about the statements he wanted to make with the movie. We wrapped the movie in 2009, and a year later were called back to reshoot some sequences based on the statements he wanted to make with the finished film, so that should tell you that even though Anthony Hemingway's influence is still a part of the movie, it is ultimately a George Lucas statement on the exploits of the Tuskegee airmen.

gillesgeary says: As an actor, do you ever find yourself staying in one particular role and if so how do you get out of that?
I'm not really a Method actor, except for the fact that there's always an aspect of all the characters I play that kind of seeps into my psyche, unless it's an extreme character study like Robert “Radio” Kennedy in a film I did called Radio, where the character was a physical portrayal. Those characters are easy to let go because it's such an extreme. But I think moralistically, socially, real life heroes like the one I played in Men Of Honor and here in the Tuskegee airmen teach you how to be a better man.

Jimmy the Saint says: Do you feel Pearl Harbor was treated unfairly? There were some claimed it was the victim of a press vendetta?
You know, films are subjective art. People bring to them their lives and their life experiences as they view the film, and that film in particular people were very passionate about. I personally would have liked a bit more about Dorie Miller in the movie, but you can't deny the spectacle of that film. I think great films are made up of great moments, whether you like the film as a whole or not, great moments make great cinema.

Baran Zoral says: Did you actually get to learn to fly for Red Tails? If so, how was it?
No. For the first one I did. In Tuskegee Airmen I went up with the pilots and threw up a couple of times. But in this one I was on the ground, thank the good Lord!

dialmformovies says: Do you feel that winning an Academy Award can be a hindrance to one's future career, as well as a help ?
No, absolutely a help. When you make decisions as an artist it's based on many factors, the least of which can determine a film's success or failure. But in the end, being an Academy Award winner is never a hurtful thing, or a hindrance.

Boz says: Cuba, do you get any love from Reebok now?
Hahaha. You crazy!

Skyward1010 says: Out of all the movies you have acted in, which one would you say was your favorite and why?
Well, maybe Men Of Honor because wherever I've gone over the world, people mention that as their favourite. Picking your favourite, as an artist, is like picking your favourite child, something I refuse to do!

TomCeeUK says: What was it like working with Kim Coates in Hero Wanted?
I love Kim Coates, I think he has such passion as an actor, and intensity. Reminds me of a young Gary Oldman.

Soz_Lost_Name: Do you ever get tired of hearing that catchphrase?
I'm surprised this question took that long, LOL. I'm never tired of something that brought me so much success and artistic fulfilment. I get it screamed at me in the street a LOT.

abc1234 says: If you could play any one real person from the entire history of the human race, who would it be?
Is God taken? There are a few. Maybe because I'm in the World War II mindset, Benjamin O. Davis Jr.. Amazing military mind. At one point, Oliver Stone and I talked about doing a Martin Luther King Jr. movie, but that was years ago.

Cuba Gooding Jr. Webchat

filmfanatic123 says: What was it like meeting Barack Obama with some of the real airmen who Red Tails is based on? It must have been emotional...
Well, the first time I met Barack was as a senator during his campaign, and I went to Ohio encouraging young people to vote; never mind Democratic or Republican, I just wanted them to vote. But that experience at the White House was a really emotional one, just a culmination of the effort that everyone put in to getting the airmen onscreen. Seminal moment in my career.

philisntcool says: Do you remember what was going through your head when you won your Oscar? Obviously, your speech was a bit frantic (but amazing nonetheless).
Thank you very much! That's sweet of you to say; I lost my mind and I try to forget that moment! But it was just a moment of shock. You're in a room full of the best actors in Hollywood and they choose to single you out; it was almost an out of body experience.

dialmformovies says: Your father is a musician. Have you at any stage expressed an interest to act in a musical, or contribute to a screenplay about his life?
My father has commissioned someone to write a screenplay, but I think it's about 300 pages long: not just his life, but his father Dudley Gooding. [Dudley] came over from Cuba and picked up the nickname as a taxi driver. I'm an artist first: if there was a musical story that I found compelling I would figure it out.

LukeWalker84 says: Did you see the Avengers? Would you have liked to have played a superhero at some point? If so, which one?
My Oscar speech? I try to forget that moment!
You know, I went frantically after the role of Daredevil and I guess they had already set Ben Affleck as this character. I just thought it'd be cool to have some blind guy doing these things, and no-one would suspect the blind black guy. But I loved The Avengers; I thought the Hulk stole the show.

dylanisis says: Will you ever direct?
I hope so, that's my ultimate goal.

Boz says: I love the fact that you're in Coming to America for about five seconds. Was that your first taste of acting on the big screen?
Yes, and I was devastated to learn that my role was cut out and I was left as an extra in that barbershop scene. But it was an amazing experience nonetheless.

SamCrowe says: What's your favourite sandwich?
I'm a sucker for a New York pastrami, especially when I'm in Manhattan. But I eat incessantly turkey salad, heavy on the pickle. In Australia, I'm a fan of Vegemite. OK, they're calling me back, dragging me down under again. I'm out, thank you for all your wonderful questions, I had a good time. Peace, love and soul!

Red Tails is in cinemas on June 6

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