Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding worried about taking a gay role as a straight actor
Henry Golding has revealed that he wasn’t sure if it was appropriate for him to play a gay character in an upcoming film.
The actor and model follows Kit (played by Golding), a young British-Vietnamese man, as he returns to the country of his birth for the first time in more than 30 years.
The Crazy Rich Asians star said the role resonated deeply with him when he first read the script – but he wasn’t sure if he should play a gay character.
“I used to be a hairdresser, so my environment as a young man was with all of these mentors of strong, gay, independent men,” Golding told Digital Spy.
“So I understand, and I respect the culture so much.
“But there’s only so much you can say to somebody and justify a straight man taking a gay role.”
Henry Golding played a gay character in Monsoon because the film was not focused on his sexuality.
Ultimately, Golding was convinced to take the role because the film’s writer and director, Hong Khaou, believed he was the right person for the part.
Golding said the director wanted him for the part because the story’s focus was not Kit’s sexuality, but rather his journey to his country of origin.
“It didn’t hinge on the fact that he was queer, and the story wasn’t about that, and I think it’s important to be able to distinguish that,” Golding said.
“With Hong’s filmmaking, it becomes a matter of fact.
There’s only so much you can say to somebody and justify a straight man taking a gay role.
“It almost normalises it, and that was the beauty of the movie – it didn’t hinge on the fact that the character was queer. I spoke at great lengths to Hong about it and I thought about it a tremendous amount.”
He added: “I felt as though going into a role with complete respect and understanding of the community and giving it my best shot – I think it was, hopefully, enough for people. It’s coming from a place of good will.”
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The issue of straight actors playing queer roles on-screen has been a source of contention within the film industry, and within the wider LGBT+ community, for years.
Numerous straight actors have won awards and accolades for taking on queer roles – but many LGBT+ people within the industry have pointed out that access to film roles is not equal across the board.
In 2018, actor Darren Criss vowed to never play a gay character again, saying he believed queer actors should be first in line to play queer characters.
“I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role,” he said at the time.