Cuba Gooding Jr., who portrays O.J. Simpson in FX's 10-part miniseries on his 1995 murder trial, said he didn't want to meet the former football star as part of his research for taking on the role.

Gooding — who would not reveal at a news conference Saturday his opinion on whether Simpson stabbed his former wife, Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman to death in June 1994 — said the Simpson he needed to portray in the TV film, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," was a much different man then, swaggering and ­confident.

Gooding said he had to gain weight and it took him a month to recover from the grueling six-month filming. "I had no desire to visit him in his present condition, being incarcerated and being a shell of a man," he said.

The project, with executive producer Ryan Murphy and actors like John Travolta, David Schwimmer, Malcolm Jamal-Warner and Gooding, has been getting strong word-of-mouth buzz before its Feb. 2 premiere. Based on a book by CNN's Jeffrey Toobin, writers and producers said they worked hard to make the docudrama as authentic as possible.

Schwimmer, who plays lawyer Robert Kardashian, at one point in the film pleads with a gun-toting Simpson not to shoot himself "in Kimmy's bedroom." The scenes were shot in the Kardashian home, where his later-to-be-famous family lived.

Cher comes to the rescue

Cher is donating bottled water to the residents of Flint struggling to obtain safe water amid a lead contamination crisis. The entertainer and Icelandic Water are contributing more than 181,000 bottles of water to help alleviate what she called a "tragedy of staggering proportions." The city switched water supplies in 2014 while a new pipeline was under construction and the corrosive water from the Flint River leached lead from old pipes. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has returned to his hometown and on Saturday called for President Obama to come see the water crisis for himself. That was the same day that the president declared a state of emergency.

another loss: Daniel Dion, the older brother of singer Celine Dion, died Saturday, just two days after the death of her husband, Rene Angelil. ­Daniel Dion, 59, died Saturday in a care center outside Montreal surrounded by his family after having cancer for several years. The announcement follows the death on Thursday of the 73-year-old Angelil in suburban Las Vegas after his long battle with throat cancer.

Associated Press