It's the line that made Cuba Gooding Jr. famous, but he says it also stalled his career.

The 48-year-old won an Oscar in 1997 for his performance in Jerry Maguire - the film which also gave him the iconic catchphrase "Show me the money!" But then he suddenly disappeared from our screens. And he says it was all to do with that well-worn catchphrase.

"When I won the Oscar, I fell into that mindset that this is a precious role," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "People everywhere were shouting, 'Show me the money!' I just didn't want anything that could parody the fact that I was like a tagline in a movie.

"So when Steven Spielberg offered me Amistad, I said no; when Hotel Rwanda came along, I said no. I was saying no to all of these things because I had in my mind the role I wanted to play."


But what role did he have in mind? "I had no f**kin' idea," he told the publication.

"So I passed on all these great directors and wound up offending a bunch of them, and what happened was I went off the list of, 'Greenlight if you have this actor in the role'. I went into the wasteland. But I think it was God's will that I took eight to 10 years to go and do direct-to-video trash.

"Producers would come to me and say, 'We have the foreign financing in place for anywhere from $5 million to $10 million, whatever you want to do'. So I met with writers, I developed the script, we'd shoot it, and then I'd edit it and direct it. I learned more about the filmmaking process in those 10 years and it made me 10 times better as an actor, but unfortunately people had to sit through those movies."

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Gooding Jr. says he now considers who the director is more than the role being offered when choosing projects.

"When Ridley Scott called, my agent said, 'Here's an offer [for American Gangster]; they want you to play Nicky Barnes'," he said. "And I go: 'I don't have to read it. I'm in'. And then my agent's like: 'Oh, we'll take a day. We'll read it'. And I go: 'No, no, no, Ridley Scott called. I'm in'."