Gooding’s rep-ertoire

Sometimes life does not imitate art. Take the case of Cuba Gooding Jr., who starred as the fiercely loyal football player, Rod Tidwell, who stuck with his sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) through thick and thin.

When Tidwell finally hits the big time, he rebuffs all attempts by big sports management firms to lure him away from his agent. He remained loyal.

Like Tidwell, Gooding – after years of toil – has finally hit the big time.

And now the twist.

Gooding had been repped on and off by Paradigm and agent Sam Gores. He tried a number of other agencies, but always returned to the boutique agency Paradigm.

About a year ago, the filmmakers held a cast read-through for “Jerry Maguire” with Robin Williams reading the lead. Insiders say the producers initially wanted Damon Wayans to read the part of Tidwell, but Wayans was unavailable. The filmmakers then turned to Alan Payne, who was scheduled to read for a lesser role. Payne, however, was on a plane and unavailable to read for either role. Under time pressure, the filmmakers told Payne’s rep, International Creative Management, to come up with another actor to read the part of Tidwell. ICM suggested its then-client Gooding, who ended up doing so well that he instantly became a top contender for the role.

Gooding then left ICM and once again went back to Paradigm. When the studio requested that Gooding screen test for the role, Gores stood up to the studio and refused. He then helped push Gooding past two other actors (one of them a previous Oscar nominee) and ultimately closed the deal for Gooding.

Now offers are pouring in for Gooding … to star opposite Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones in Warner Bros.’ “U.S. Marshals” and opposite Eddie Murphy in Imagine Entertainment’s “Life,” among others.

But Paradigm and Gores won’t be repping him. After his newfound fame, Gooding has left boutique Paradigm and signed with Creative Artists Agency.

“Show me the money!” … and then, what? “Show Me the Door?”

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