Cuba Gooding Jr. to play doctor on 'Gifted'

1:54 PM PST 08/27/2008 by Kimberly Nordyke, AP

Actor will portray real-life neurologist on TNT movie

Cuba Gooding Jr. is set to portray a real-life neurologist in "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story," a TNT original movie that will air under the Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation banner.

The movie, based on Carson's memoir, will trace his journey from frustrated inner-city kid to director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. It will air in the first quarter.

"Hands" is executive produced by Dan Angel, Margaret Loesch, Bruce Stein, Erin Keating and Thomas Carter. The movie is from Sony Pictures TV, Magna Global Entertainment, Thomasfilm and the Hatchery, the latter of which optioned the book and brought it, along with Carter ("Coach Carter"), to TNT and Sony. Carter will direct from a script by John Pielmeier.

Carson's memoir, which he wrote with Cecil Murphey, describes his childhood in a rough neighborhood of Detroit and his difficulties after his father "abandoned the family." Encouraged by his mother, Carson wrote, he pushed himself throughout school even when faced with prejudice and negative peer pressure. His accomplishments led him to be named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which President Bush bestowed on Carson at a ceremony in June.

" 'Gifted Hands' is more than just an inspirational tale of overcoming seemingly impossible odds to succeed," TNT chief programmer Michael Wright said. "It's that rare story of finding something deeper and more meaningful in life, while facing the challenges of the world with faith, hope and courage."

He and Sony TV exec vp movies/miniseries Helen Verno also praised Gooding as a good fit for the role.

Gooding, an Oscar winner for "Jerry Maguire," most recently was in "American Gangster." He recently completed production on Kevin Bray's drama "Linewatch" and an untitled horror thriller with Ray Winstone and Ron Perlman.
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