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There are surely countless actors out there that are having trouble getting cast in movies, but Henry Golding isn’t one of them. The Crazy Rich Asians star jumps back into the romantic comedy genre this weekend opposite the Mother of Dragons herself Emilia Clarke for Last Christmas. But for director Paul Feig, casting Henry Golding in Last Christmas wasn’t a simple thing. In an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend’s own Corey Chichizola, Paul Feig explained how casting Henry Golding required him to be tricky, saying:
I definitely wanted him in this movie. I had so much fun working with him on A Simple Favor. He’s just a lovely guy. You always look for people who are talented who are also going to make your life nice. Even when I read the part, this kind of is who Henry is. He is like Tom in real life. He’s this very positive guy, very upbeat. Likes to make people happy, likes to keep people happy. It’s just a lovely quality. It felt like he would be so effortless doing it, and he was. So I just couldn’t wait to get him in, and I was trying to get him this role before Crazy Rich Asians came out. So I had to do a dance with the studio to delay casting the role until the movie came out.
Although Henry Golding’s star in Hollywood is currently ascending at an exponential rate, when Paul Feig wanted to cast him in Last Christmas that wasn’t yet the case. The way the timing worked, Paul Feig first read the part in the story by Emma Thompson and Greg Wise, before Crazy Rich Asians came out and before it had become a massive success.
Crazy Rich Asians was Henry Golding’s first feature film, so Paul Feig basically wanted to cast an unknown and unproven quantity as one of the leads in his movie opposite an actress who starred in the world’s biggest TV show. Paul Feig knew that would be a nonstarter, so as he told Corey, he cleverly did a dance with the studio to put off casting the role of Tom in Last Christmas.
Paul Feig had faith and knew that while Henry Golding was relatively unknown, his rocketship was already on the launch pad, just waiting to take off. He just needed to delay things long enough for the ignition provided by Crazy Rich Asians. His gambit paid off as Crazy Rich Asians became a huge success story, thereby allowing Paul Feig to cast the actor he wanted in Last Christmas.
And Paul Feig really wanted Henry Golding for his Christmas rom-com. The director had already worked with Golding on the delightfully pulpy A Simple Favor, which arrived in theaters a month after Crazy Rich Asians. Paul Feig came to know what kind of person Henry Golding is during that experience and he immediately drew parallels between him and the character Tom in Last Christmas.
So he knew that a genuinely nice and happy person like Henry Golding would be a perfect fit for Tom, he just had to get creative to make it happen. It’s an incredibly savvy move on the part of Paul Feig. He knows how the industry works and how to work it. After Crazy Rich Asians, the studio was probably thrilled to cast Henry Golding in Last Christmas.
From now on the biggest trick to casting Henry Golding will probably be his own availability. Next year the actor will have a role in Guy Ritchie’s absurdly star-studded return to his crime roots The Gentlemen, and he will also lead the relaunch of the G.I. Joe franchise as the titular ninja in Snake Eyes.