In one Crazy Rich Asians scene with shades of Arrested Development’s iconic Motherboy pageant, Eleanor Young sneaks up on her adult son, Nick (Henry Golding), while he’s peeling off his wine-stained shirt, not-at-all-subtly suggests he change into a blue one, and then slips him into the new oxford herself. “How do I look?” Nick asks, as they both stare into a mirror. “Perfect,” Eleanor says.
Crazy Rich Asians is many things—a glittering joyfest, a boon for the return of the rom-com, and a much-needed, long overdue mainstream film starring an all-Asian cast. But make no mistake, it is also the birth of Golding as a major movie star and an unabashed vehicle for his dashing, devastating hotness.
It should come as no surprise that this man was voted “sexual healer” in high school. Golding has the posh British accent of Prince William, a Cary Grant-ian twinkle in his eye, and a dreaminess that is entirely his own. He commands the screen in Crazy Rich Asians (and not just because he is often shirtless) as the gallant gazillionaire at the heart of the film (which was adapted from the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan). Golding weakens knees when he appears in an epic party scene in a buttery, cream-colored linen suit. “He’s like the Asian Bachelor,” notes Awkwafina, who steals every scene she’s in as Peik Lin Goh, the college pal of Nick’s girlfriend
With his good looks and lightning-in-a-bottle charm, Golding, 31, is poised to become the first—but hopefully not the last—Asian leading man in contemporary Hollywood. “Asian men are sexy, confident, and passionate—and three-dimensional,” Golding told Vanity Fair. “We want the opportunity to portray roles that reflect who we are in real life.”
So now that you’ve fallen in love with Golding, there are a few questions: Who isGolding, anyway? And where will staning him take us next? Here, a few answers.
Astoundingly, Crazy Rich Asians is Golding’s first on-screen film role.
He is best known as a travel host on Discovery, National Geographic, and BBC’s The Travel Show, a Parts Unknown–style trek to the heart of popular vacation destinations. But, fun fact, he is also a former hairstylist, which may explain his perfect coiffure.
Still, it wasn’t his hosting reel that got Golding the role. As he told Glamour, Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu discovered him through . . . an accountant they both knew. “The filmmakers were literally at the eleventh hour trying to find an appropriate Nick Young, and the accounting lady said, ‘I met this guy Henry Golding at an event about five years ago, and I thought he was the epitome of this character.’” A Skype meeting, some tapes, and a “chemistry read” later, Golding landed the life-changing part. In a fateful twist, Golding lives in Singapore, where the novel and the film are set. “Jon always says that they searched the entire world for their Nick Young . . . and he was exactly where the book told him he was going to be,” Golding said
And yet, Golding has endured casting controversy.
Golding’s father is British and his mother is Malaysian—which led to backlash over his casting from some who claimed the role should not have gone to a biracial or half-Asian actor. “To be honest, I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t saddened. I was almost expecting it,” he told Variety. “I’ve had it my entire life,” saying that he struggled with being told he is “not . . . white enough to be living in England” and “coming back to Asia and not being Asian enough.” But after being born in Malaysia and living for 17 years in Singapore, Golding says, “I feel more Asian than anything. I was proud to be able to represent Asia. There are some sour people out there, but we should be getting together and fighting for something bigger, rather than Asians against Asians.”
Crazy Rich Asians is just the beginning of Golding’s hot streak.
Next, he’ll play Blake Lively’s hunky husband in the thriller A Simple Favor (out September 14), and, in 2019, he will star in Monsoon, as a British-Vietnamese man returning to his homeland for the first time in three decades after fleeing during the Vietnam War. And some fans on Twitter are calling for Golding to be a contender for the next James Bond.
Unfortunately for civilian fans hoping to marry him, he’s taken.
Crasy Rich Asian Star Henry Golding Investment Is Helping Thousand of SingaporeansThere is no hope here of a Luciana Barroso and Matt Damon situation. Golding recently celebrated his two-year wedding anniversary with model–yoga instructor–entrepreneur Liv Lo. The only consolation? They’re extremely cute together.