Looking to dismantle the Hollywood status quo? Henry Golding is your guy.
The 31-year-old actor’s breakout role in Crazy Rich Asians, a box-office triumph and a tremendous leap forward for Asian representation in film, was just the beginning for the former Discovery Channel travel host.
Next, Golding is Bridesmaids director Paul Feig’s leading man in the female-led dark comedy, A Simple Favor, portraying Sean, whose peculiar wife, Emily (Blake Lively) goes missing.
His third project? It’s finished and LGBTQ-minded. In Lilting writer-director Hong Khaou’s upcoming drama, Monsoon, expected to premiere at festivals next year, Golding will play Kit, a gay British-Vietnamese man traveling from London to Vietnam to scatter his parents’ ashes.
NewNowNext chatted with Golding about his LGBTQ-inspired motivation to do Monsoon, inspiring other minority actors, and acclimating himself with the thirsty words the world is calling him.
Gay men love you. Maybe you’re aware?
[Laughs] We had an amazing cocktail reception [recently for A Simple Favor] and a lot of the LGBT community came out. We were discussing how important it is that with Crazy Rich Asians, it was really focused on the Asian aspect. For A Simple Favor, I am an Asian leading man in a leading man role; it’s not having to explain that Sean is of Asian descent. It’s about normalizing that dialogue.
Growing up in England, what was your introduction to the LGBTQ community?
I was a hairstylist, so the environment I grew up in, it was normal. My upbringing was, “Be good unto others, be kind, stay healthy, and be happy.” [My parents] never set barriers. And being surrounded by that community, I saw it for what it is: a very loving, inclusive community. The thing is, it’s so normal for me; it’s weird when people ask me about it, it’s strange they’re asking me something so obvious. You don’t realize there are some people who are still affected by all this crap.
I felt so strongly about it that in my third film [Monsoon] my character is gay. I wanted to portray a character with heart—and the fact that it’s his story that shines through, not the fact that he’s gay. He has this wonderful relationship, but the truth of the matter is the material really lends itself to his journey.
What else can you tell me about Monsoon?
It’s pretty darn steamy. And it’s really, let’s get back to the story, let’s not make the headlines if it’s an all-Asian cast, or if it’s a female story. Let’s just have it for what it is.
Your openly gay Crazy Rich Asians co-star, Nico Santos, who portrays your cousin Oliver in the film, referred to you as a “snack.”
With a double C at the end? That’s how the kids spell it these days. It’s “snacc” and “thicc.” [Laughs] But I’m not really in there with the trends these days, been cooped up in hotels for the past five months.
Then you may have missed being called “daddy AF.”
Yeah, I read that one! [Laughs]
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Standard bathroom attire whilst in the presence of @ukesquire #Repost @ukesquire ・・・ A few months ago, @henrygolding was a BBC television presenter. Now, he is the star of #CrazyRichAsians, the @warnerbrosuk box office hit of the year. In his first UK fashion shoot, the British-Malaysian discusses growing up in Surrey, his unlikely ascent to Hollywood and how he hopes to be a new kind of leading man. Hit the link in our bio to read the full interview Photography: @willbremridge
Nico was saying that he’s already pitching a Crazy Rich Gaysian movie. You down?
[Laughs] Gaysians Abroad? I think he’d definitely be the leader of the pack there.
I envision Nick taking Oliver to a gay bar in Singapore and pimping him out.
Right? “This is my buddy, Oliver.” I’ll line ’em up. He just has to knock ’em down.
When it comes to shirtless scenes in your films, you’re two for two. How long can we expect this trend to continue?
Oh, man, I’m off-season at the moment, so not in the best of shape.
Scripts—are they coming to you in droves right now?
Yeah. I’m really just trying to find the best material to complement everything else I’ve done. I’m past doing things for the sheer payday. At the end of it, I really wanna be involved with great movies and continue this leading-man role, and hopefully inspire others to take it up and believe in themselves a little more.
A Simple Favor opens in theaters Sept. 14.