Henry Golding Initially Turned Down ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Until Jon M. Chu ‘Stalked’ Him Into Taking the Role

Crazy Rich Asians was a smash hit at the box office. Its success was mostly due to its talented cast. One of the most prominent members was Henry Golding. While it’s hard to picture the film without Golding’s debonair wit and charm, there was actually a time during the movie’s development when his participation was in doubt. 

So why was Golding on the fence about participating, and how did he end up getting involved in the film? The story involves one very persistent director. 

Henry Golding nearly turned down ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Henry Golding is wearing a black suit jacket and a black undershirt against a black and light blue background.
Henry Golding

Casting is a critical part of any movie. Putting one wrong actor in one of the film’s roles could be the difference between a hit and a flop. No one would argue that the team behind Crazy Rich Asians knocked it out of the park with Golding’s casting. But if you can’t place where you saw Golding before him playing this part, that’s because he had limited acting experience. 

In an interview with WIRED, Golding relayed the story of how he was cast in the film. When he was being sought out for the role, Golding wasn’t even an actor. A person in a studio accounting department gave his name to someone involved in the production, scouting for talent to be featured in Crazy Rich Asians

Golding actually didn’t want the part at first. He cited his lack of acting experience as a reason for not wanting to get involved. To go from being a non-entity in Hollywood to playing one of the biggest parts in a major studio film is quite a leap, and it’s understandable why a novice may find that intimidating or unenviable. He turned down the opportunity to audition. Luckily, someone from behind the camera intervened to get Golding onboard. 

Jon M. Chu ‘stalked’ Henry Golding until he took the role

A movie director is like the head coach of a sports team. They often delegate, but sometimes they need to roll up their sleeves and get intimately involved with many parts of the filmmaking process. For Crazy Rich Asians, director Jon M. Chu had to convince Golding to accept the casting and join the film. 

Golding said that Chu tracked down his number and told him that he had to audition for the role. He stressed what a great opportunity it was and ultimately persuaded Golding to read for the part. Golding did, and as the actor said, “the rest is history.” According to Vulture, Chu encouraged him during his audition, coaxing a solid performance out of him.

“[Jon] was like, ‘You can do this. We see so much of this character in this role for you, that if you bring who you are as a person, we’re going to nail this.'” 

Chu opened up a new career path for Golding, one in which he has been very successful. So what has he been up to since starring in Chu’s movie? 

The actor’s career since ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and what’s next

This wasn’t the only big role Golding has landed. According to his IMDb profile, he also starred opposite Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick in A Simple Favor and Snake Eyes, an origin story surrounding the famed G.I. Joe character of the same name. This will be Golding’s first attempt at headlining a major studio property on his own.

It’s interesting to think of how much would have changed for Crazy Rich Asians had Chu not decided to “stalk” Golding. Thankfully he did, and a new star was created. 

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