British-Malaysian TV presenter Henry Golding had to deal with some backlash after landing the dream role of Nick Young in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, a major Hollywood studio production directed by Jon M. Chu for Warner Bros.
Many criticised the decision to cast Henry Golding as Nick Young, as Golding is of Malaysian, Singaporean and British descent and he grew up in England. People were expecting to see Nick Young played by someone who fully Asian, or Chinese – since Nick Young is a university professor who is originally from Singapore.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Henry Golding felt like the criticisms directed at him were quite hurtful.
“For me, it was almost like being kind of stabbed in the back. I was like, ‘Aren’t we meant to be in this boat together? Aren’t we meant to strive together for something bigger than these boundaries that we’re putting on ourselves instead of bullying each other?’”
“People were like, ‘This guy’s half-Asian, he’s half-white, he’s not even full Asian,’ and it comes to, like, how Asian do you have to be to be considered Asian?” he added.
“I’ve lived 16, 17 years of my life in Asia, and that’s most of my life. I was born in Asia, I’ve lived cultures that are synonymous with Asian culture, but it’s still not Asian enough for some people. Where are the boundaries? Where are the lines drawn for saying that you cannot play this character because you’re not fully Asian?”
“I live in Singapore, I’ve lived here for 6 years, so you think I’m less suitable than a Godfrey Gao or a Leehom Wang?” Golding said, referring to the 2 actors who fans were expecting to see as Nick Young. “I was chosen because I came as close to the character as possible.”
Director Jon M. Chu explained that the actor who plays Nick Young had to be a “charming, leading man” who would have to be able to sound educated from Oxford, and he must also have an English accent – and Henry Golding seemed to fit all of that criteria.
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is set to hit cinemas on 17th of August, 2018.
Source: Entertainment Weekly