'Crazy Rich Asians' made Henry Golding a star. Now he's showing Hollywood everything he can do
Henry Golding got his big break in 2018's 'Crazy Rich Asians.' Three years later the actor is juggling film projects with dad duties after welcoming his first child in April.
How do you feel the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” has affected your career?Massively. It was my first job, so it gave me the break. It gave me these amazing friends that I will carry for the rest of my life and career. Me and Jon Chu have stayed very, very close. It was such a statement to have as a first movie, it’s carried me far for sure. I’ve been really lucky with the choice of work and the opportunities.
AdvertisementAre you excited to return to the “Crazy Rich Asians” story in two back-to-back sequels?[Laughs] When they get written, sure. I’ll be the first on set.What’s been your biggest struggle in the industry?I think it’s being able to say no. Because when you get a successful film like that, you get offers in the same vein or [that are] leveraging the success of “Crazy Rich.” It’s about really hand-picking the projects and the material so you don’t get lumped in or make the wrong decisions in terms of movies. So you’re always trying to do one better or at least on par [with the last film].
What has the experience of the pandemic been like for you?The silver lining of the whole pandemic is just being able to spend time with my wife, Liv. Because six months after we got married, “Crazy Rich” happened and so she married a completely different guy, or a completely different life. Then she was sort of thrust into a world where I was making out and in love with other women [onscreen] and so it was a real emotional relationship test. headtopics.com
The pandemic was really the first opportunity to just take a step back and concentrate on each other and spend the [first] amount of time [together] where we haven’t traveled in separate directions. ... We started off long distance. ... I was living in Singapore, in Malaysia, and she was living in Tokyo. So we’ve always been traveling. There’s never a point where we spent longer than maybe three to four months together at one time, and then suddenly we’re [together for] a year and a half, which is awesome. So our friendship and relationship have grown stronger.
A post shared by Henry Golding (@henrygolding)Has throwing a baby in the mix made it easier or harder?Definitely more challenging but much more focused. It used to be that our careers were separate, then they kind of merged, and now it’s like, “Right, well the focus is the baby.” The careers support the baby. So that’s how you figure things out. It’s like, “Can I do this project where you guys can come join me?” And that’s always a consideration now: Where are we going to be filming, how easy is it going to be to have the baby with us?
AdvertisementSo you’ve just been in a period of relentless change since your career started, basically.Nonstop. That’s why the pandemic was such a realignment of goals and things. Like, “What are we doing all of this for?” For us as a unit now, the family’s grown even stronger.
Did you pick up any pandemic skills?[Laughs] I picked up so many. I wouldn’t necessarily sayskills. I started mountain biking because there was a stage where you had to do stuff outside. So I was like, “Perfect, California is the best place for that.” I would go down to Laguna or down to Fullerton and do cycle trails with some friends. I took up surfing. I have a couple of friends who go surfing so every Saturday, and every other morning I’d go. Since the baby that hasn’t happened. [Laughs] I’m absolutely super average at both of those. But it was just nice to pick new things up. headtopics.com
A post shared by Henry Golding (@henrygolding)Where did your passion for acting come from?My passion for acting really came from a love of movies. My dad used to bring back VHS tapes every weekend that he’d rent from work; his work had this library of movies and he’d pick three or four and we’d literally watch them all weekend. It really wasn’t until I was a little bit older, like around 14 or 15, where I watched “The Matrix” and I was just blown away. My brother bought me the tape and it was the first time that I was like, “Wow, storytelling can go beyond what you know, you can build worlds,” and that for me was really exciting. I was like, “One day, I’d love to have some sort of part in that.”
How do you go about choosing your roles?I always say I just want to be in movies that I would love to watch on the big screen. Something fun or challenging. And so it’s really about the material and the filmmakers and the cast. Like 50% of your job as an actor is to perform on the day, but then the other 50% is to be able to talk about it nonstop for like a week at a time. But if you aren’t passionate about it or if you just did the job because it paid well or whatever ... you have to somewhat enjoy what you’re talking about. And so that is in the back of your mind as well. Like, “When I finish this movie, am I gonna have fun promoting it?”
We just finished [the Jane Austen adaptation] “Persuasion” over in London for Netflix, and that was a project that I was like, “Man, this would be so fun to be in a period drama.” And the cast was great. So it’s one of those things that I could imagine myself going out and promoting it. I’m very practical in that sense. I take everything into consideration.
AdvertisementDo you have a plan for your career trajectory?To be honest, not really. Everybody has such a unique journey, right? I mean, look at Robert Pattinson. He’s phenomenal. Obviously [he had] the commercial success of “Twilight” and then he completely reinvented himself and started doing much more auteur films. And now he’s like one of the best actors of the generation. headtopics.comRead more: Los Angeles Times »
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