Cuba Gooding, Jr. didn't sign on for comedy movie Six Degrees of Separation because he was uncomfortable with a gay kiss in the script.
The Jerry Maguire actor had a meeting with director Fred Schepisi about playing openly gay character Paul in the 1993 movie. However he lost interest in the part when he discovered he would have to kiss another man onscreen, because he was worried he would alienate viewers.
"I remember sitting with the director of Six Degrees of Separation, and he said: 'I want to know that you're committed to doing this role. There is this scene where he kisses a man','" he recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. "And I said, 'Listen, when I get into character I go all the way in - and I'm not comfortable with it, I'll be honest with you.'
"Now I see how childish it was to think that way, but as a young black actor in L.A. who represented the manliness of that time period, I just felt, 'Oh, I'm going to alienate people'... Then you grow up and realise how immature it was to think that way."
Will Smith eventually got the role, but he angered the director when he refused to perform the passionate male-on-male kiss with Anthony Michael Hall on camera during the shoot, so the moment was shot from behind, so they could pretend to lock lips.
According to Will, fellow actor Denzel Washington advised him against kissing a man on screen. He also said he feared it would "gross out" his fans.
During his interview, Cuba admitted he was just trying to break free from the street kid roles he would be constantly offered following 1991 movie Boyz n the Hood. He said, "I just didn't want to be the go-to street-kid guy."
He admits there is nothing that could put him off a script anymore, adding, "I'll do absolutely anything."
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