It’s been a long time since we have seen an Asian male as a lead in a romantic comedy. In fact, I can’t recall a movie where an Asian male was a love interest since the Harold and Kumar franchise — but that is more of a stoner comedy. Nonetheless, Henry Golding has flipped the script on the desexualization of the Asian male with his starring role in Crazy Rich Asians
The Jon M. Chu-directed film comes nearly 15 years after Better Luck Tomorrow and 25 years after the Joy Luck Club. Crazy Rich Asians brings a glimmer of hope that major Hollywood studios will no longer have these significant gaps of films that focus on an Asian American narrative — or other underrepresented voices for that matter. The film marks Golding’s feature debut and he sat down with the New Hollywood Podcast to talk about what he hopes Crazy Rich Asians will do for the culture and the industry when it comes to inclusive storytelling. He also dropped some knowledge about Asian and Asian American representation in entertainment (there is a difference).
We were also treated to some very interesting facts about Golding — particularly his “bejalai” experience. Born in Malaysia, “bejalai” is an Iban rite of passage into manhood. He talked to us about how he documented his experience on Surviving Borneo for Discovery Channel Asia and lived in a jungle for days and ate some of the most unsavory things (liver anyone?). He alsoHe also gave us a little info about his upcoming roles in Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor and the indie drama Monsoon where he stars opposite Southside With You star Parker Sawyers. As an added bonus, he revealed his obsession with watching Fortnite YouTube videos and opened up about his affinity for comic books — which led us to who he would want to play in a superhero movie.
Listen to the episode below.