Crazy Rich Asians: Interview with Star Henry Golding

Henry Golding is the star of the eagerly awaited film, Crazy Rich Asians, opening August 10.


Henry Golding:  I think the source material is fantastic, it’s that kind of over the top story of riches in Singapore.  And it’s fictional, but the messages throughout the entire book, but also the movie which also translated, was the message of love and the challenges of being able to love the person you want to be with.  And so, for our director Jon, he had a clear vision of what he wanted, and what he wanted to sort of achieve, not only for in terms of moviemaking, but for the audience, he knew he wanted to give them something else to latch onto other than the fact it’s an all-Asian cast and this is only for Asians, and that wasn’t the case at all.  He wanted to have these kinds of meanings for everyone and if you are Caucasian, Black or Latino, you understand the meaning of family and the sacrifices that everybody has made in the past.  I think the real guiding start was the fact that it’s all for love.

Opposite Characters

HG: Both the characters have an air of old Hollywood, which is something funny enough, not only Jon brought up, but Paul brought up.  Paul’s reference for me was Cary Grant in “Suspicion,” so you don’t know which side of the fence he lays on, but he has this air, this aura of him.  And for Jon, he needed Nick to John F. Kennedy Jr., a person of the world, but have this vast family and JFK Jr. used to ride around on his bike in New York be a person of the city.  And so, for myself it was such a joy, because that is not only slightly similar to how I am, it’s kind of the goal for a lot of what is going to dictate the rest of my career and I want to bring back that old Hollywood charm in a very different sort of spin, as an Asian leading man.  I think you are correct in saying it’s the sweet spot.  So, the interesting thing is finding projects that will complement these and hopefully continue something great.

Family Expectations

HG: I never knew I would be getting into acting my wife found this very surprising, I was a journalist like yourselves and I was a travel host for BBC and Discovery Channel for a long time, like seven to eight years. So for this role to come up with Jon, he really sort of slapped some sense into me for lack of a better expression, because I was so hesitant in auditioning, I was so hesitant to being an actor that he was like, you are right for this role and you can pull this off, believe in yourself and that was it, the switch was made, and this is all I think of now.

Cutting Short Honeymoon

HG: Many sacrifices were made, but not only my honeymoon.  So Jon actually pulled me off, I was in South Africa for one day with one of my many honeymoons with my wife, and we were sort of midway through the casting process and Jon was like, four days into being in Cape Town and having this beautiful time and it’s like, I have got to pull you, Warner Brothers really wants a screen test and this is the last thing I am ever going to ask you and I promise you this is going to be worth it. Funnily enough, Jon got married last Friday and we had an amazing wedding in Napa which I am so thankful for being there and he made me one of his groomsmen which made it even more special.  And we pulled him from his honeymoon to come on this tour, we went to Chicago, Seattle, we went to San Francisco, and so we had a beautiful time together.  So the wives, we still need to make amends with, but they understand, for a project like this, a lot of people gave up a lot, it was something special.

Getting an Agent

HG: That is something I am very new to, was very new to.  And so even before the news sort of broke out that I had taken this coveted role, and it really was a coveted role, especially for the Asian community, I was approached by a few agents and managers, and I always knew that I wanted to be represented by a company and a team that would concentrate and nurture very young stages of this career for myself.  And so, I sifted through, I had a few meetings and I had a fantastic team in Paradigm, and Nick LoPiccolo tracked me down from the grids that get sent out every week and before the notice was made, he found something special.  And he kind of delved deep into You Tube and all my existing content and heard that I had an interesting story and something very different, a different trajectory to a lot of actors who perhaps had started young.  I managed to travel the world, gain some experience and hopefully lend that to these roles.  And then I found after “Crazy Rich Asians,” Megan Silverman, who is over there, and she is like a Wonder Woman, she’s not only a brilliant mother, but also a brilliant mother again to me, and she keeps me in check.  But I have an A-Team, and we have got such a clear trajectory which we will be continuing in this realm and continuing to be hopefully a groundbreaking leading man.

Getting Married

HG: My wife is Italian-Taiwanese. That’s globalization, there’s no stopping it.  And it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who you are or your background, you always find something in common, love is a universal prospect.  And for my wife grew up  just south of Taiwan, a big city, but in terms of Taiwan, quite a rural area.  And I grew up in Malaysia, the East Coast of Malaysia, and also in Surrey, just south of London.  So, to have these sorts of intersects in life is magnificent and it’s only going to get stronger and stronger.  She definitely took the Italian trait of being very feisty and fiery, she doesn’t let me get away with much, so it’s really good.

Southeast Asia

HG: The magic thing about Southeast Asia and it’s one of the most fascinating areas in the world, is the fact that every single country has a different culture and a different language and from those languages, has dialects.  So, in Malaysia where I am from, the main races are Malay, Chinese and Indian.  So, in itself, you have so much influence, not only through food, but just for the culture, and the same goes with Singapore.  You have Cantonese and you have Mandarin and you have Hakka, so many different clans of Chinese that have come and settled, so it’s a wonderful thing.  Globalization pretty much is Southeast Asia and they mix and change, and you can be Chinese-Filipino, you can be Indonesian-Thai, it’s really a magical place.

Foodwise, we had those amazing Hawker scenes and we went to Newton Circus in Singapore and if you ever go to Singapore, head over there, because the great thing is you have a table like the characters, you buy one dish from every single place and you taste the Chilly Crab, the Sate, there’s so many wonderful things.  So, it’s great, it’s like a little buffet of flavors.