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Q+A Cuba Gooding Jr. The 35-year-old Oscar-winning actor (Jerry Maguire) stars as the title character in Radio, which opens on Oct. 24.

SI: Radio, about a mentally challenged man who assists a high
school football team, is based on a story Gary Smith wrote for SI
in 1996. Did you read it?

Gooding Jr.: Of course. I wanted to know how much of the
screenplay was drawn from who the guy is. When I read the
article, I was like, Wow, there is a guy out there like that.

SI: How much time did you spend with the real-life Radio, James
Robert Kennedy?

Gooding Jr.: I couldn't sit down and have an interview. He didn't
really have the capacity to do that. So I didn't meet him until
three weeks into the filming. The only way I could draw from him
was to watch tapes of him and interviews with people who knew him
or took care of him.

SI: You're in an NHL ad campaign that also features Shania Twain,
Jim Belushi, Denis Leary and Kiefer Sutherland. If I put you five
on the ice as a team, how would you do?

Gooding Jr.: Against who? Against a bunch of nuns, we would whup
'em. But that's about it.

SI: Roger Moore said that it was time for a black James Bond and
that you would make a great 007.

Gooding Jr: Well, I have too much blackness to be a James Bond.
You know what I'm saying? I have too much sex appeal.

SI: Did any real-life athletes inspire your Rod Tidwell character
in Jerry Maguire?

Gooding Jr.: A couple of people. One guy was Al Whiting, who
played in the Canadian Football League and was on the set [as a
stuntman] telling me, "I feel ya, dog." That's where I got that

SI: Who's the most famous person to come up to you and utter the
line "Show me the money?"

Gooding Jr.: Anthony Hopkins. We did a film together called
Instinct, and after every take the son of a bitch would go, "Show
me the moneyyyyyyyy."

SI: What do you think Rod would be up to these days?

Gooding Jr: Probably opening up a bar somewhere called Rod's.
He'd have a bunch of pretty girls behind the bar, and his wife
would be the manager handling the money. Rod would be up front,
getting drunk with the locals. --Richard Deitsch

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