“John Travolta is my favorite costar of all time,” says Cuba Gooding Jr., who won an Oscar for his performance alongside Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. The actor and Travolta are currently co-starring in FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, in which Gooding Jr. portrays the infamous athlete while Travolta plays his lawyer Robert Shapiro.
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[IMAGE “1” “” “std” ]While the subject matter is serious and sometimes disturbing, Gooding Jr. says Travolta helped to keep the atmosphere light on set. “Besides singing with him to entertain the gallery of the courtroom, I just enjoyed hearing stories of his life from Welcome Back, Kotter to traveling with Michael Jackson,” Gooding Jr. tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.
Decompressing after a day of shooting courtroom scenes (and singing to the extras, apparently) entails Gooding Jr. hitting the rink. “I’ve been playing ice hockey for 25 years,” he says. “I compete in tournaments around the country.”
The actor says he hopes Simpson will find his own peace and closure by watching the series. “Hopefully he will find some sense of redemption and healing,” he adds. “Hopefully he’ll see some truth in it.”