Interview with Kam Williams
Headline: Cuba Day Camp
Born in the Bronx on January 2, 1968, Cuba Gooding, Jr. is the son of singers Shirley and Cuba, Sr. She was a backup singer for The Sweethearts while he’s the lead singer of the R&B group The Main Ingredient whose biggest hit was Everybody Plays the Fool. His parents separated in 1974, and Cuba was raised by his mom who moved the family around a lot.
So, he ended up attending four different high schools, but was still popular enough to be voted class president at three of them. He married his childhood sweetheart, Sara Kapfer, and the couple has three kids, Spencer, Mason and Piper.
A born-again Christian since the age of 13, Cuba was blessed with a meteoric rise after his breakout performance as Tre in Boyz n the Hood. In 1997, he won an Academy Award for his memorable outing as Rod “Show me the money!” Tidwell in Jerry Maguire, and was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People Magazine the same year.
Cuba also has an NAACP Image Award (for Radio) as well as his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Over the course of his checkered career with over 50 acting credits already on his resume’, he’s generally met with much more success in his dramatic than comedic roles.
Recently, Cuba has recently been appearing on TV as a pitchman for Hanes underwear in a series of commercials opposite Michael Jordan. In the first, wanting to be like Mike, he boasts about wearing the basketball great’s briefs. More to come. Here, he talks about his new movie, Daddy Day Camp, a sequel to Daddy Day Care, where he replaces Eddie Murphy as Charlie Hinton.
KW: How would you summarize Daddy Day Camp?
CG: Charlie, my character, and Phil [played by Paul Rae] my partner, have to take our kids to camp. When we get to the camp, we realize that the camp we grew up going to is being closed down. So, we decide to go into partnership and buy it. And all hell breaks loose. [Laughs]
KW: What did you think when you heard that Fred Savage was going to direct it?
CG: I was like, “Why do I know that name?” Somebody reminded me that he was the kid on The Wonder Years, and I was like, Oh!” And everybody I tell that he’s directing always goes “Oh!” because you still think of him as the little boy now directing a major motion picture.
KW: Did you have any reservations about him?
CG: No, then I found out how much work he’s done since then, going to film school, and doing all these other movies, shorts and what not. And then I sat down with him, and talked with him about certain aspects of the structure of the story that I felt needed to be worked on, and heard how he saw the father-son relationships, the multi-generational thing happening of Charlie with his son and with his father. And he really had a grasp of the story. He was absolutely the most amazing choice we could have made.
KW: How was it having so many kids in this cast?
CG: The kids were insane. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a movie set, but there’s always a crafts service table, and there’s always candy and food around. And these kids knew that and took advantage of it. [Laughs] So, it was interesting. I think it’s great though, because that’s the exact energy we wanted to have at Daddy Day Camp.