Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as a former boxing champion in his directorial debut Bayou Caviar

“Show me you can be great.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. does just that in a PEOPLE exclusive trailer for his directorial debut Bayou Caviar.

The actor, 50, plays former boxing champion Rodney Jones who dreams of reclaiming victory in the ring from his dull life as a night club bouncer.

Despite his attempts to stay on a narrow path, he is unwittingly dragged into business with mafia members after he witnesses them murder his boss. Jones sets out to bring down a rival mafia boss but finds himself struggling with the life or death consequences.

Gooding Jr. directs and stars in the film alongside Richard Dreyfuss and X-Men: The Last Stand’s Famke Janssen. The Oscar-winning actor also co-wrote the script with Eitan Gorlin.

Cuba Gooding Jr. and Famke Janssen
| Credit: Patti Perret/Gravitas Ventures

This is Gooding Jr.’s first time in the director’s chair and it was a long time coming. The actor shared a photo of himself in the editing room in December 2017 in which he shared, “Directorial debut coming soon….”

He’s been hard at work in the theater as well, with a turn as Billy Flynn in the West End’s Chicago the Musical earlier this year — one he will reprise on Broadway beginning Oct. 6.

Gooding Jr. has dabbled in TV as well, with star roles in American Horror Story and American Crime Story as O.J. Simpson, for which he was nominated for an Emmy award.

In 2014, he was also in Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed film, Selma.

The movie opens in select theaters and will be available on VOD platforms Oct. 5, 2018.