Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding sat down with GLAAD Head of Talent Anthony Ramos for a deep dive into his new film, Monsoon, and what kind of pressure he felt playing the role of a gay man.
The nearly 18-minute interview covers everything from Golding’s role in the film and Asian representation on screen, to Golding’s past career as a hairdresser. Early on, Ramos asked Golding what it was like for the actor, who is straight, to play an LGBTQ+ character.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” Golding replied, “I think there’s a lot of expectation when it comes to queer characters on screen — should they be played by the LGBT community, or is there allowance for a heterosexual male to play this particular role?”
Golding continued, saying “for this particular project, we felt as though because the story didn’t revolve around his sexuality and the importance of his sexuality and the importance of the history of his sexuality, that as an actor I’m able to open myself to that.”
He said that he hopes eventually in Hollywood, an actor's sexuality won’t even be relevant. “When do we get to a stage where bring gay isn’t even questioned on screen,” he asked, “Being a straight or LGBTQ+ actor, will you always be questioned for your sexuality?” There has been much conversation about whether straight actors should take queer roles. Some believe it is never appropriate as some LGBTQ+ actors are pigeonholed into only queer and trans roles after coming out — the idea is that if this is all they are booked for, they shouldn't have to compete with their heterosexual counterparts who don't face this. Others believe that there are some instances where it is alright.
Monsoon is written and directed by Hong Khaou, a gay filmmaker, and tells the story of a gay Vietnamese man who returns home for the first time in years. When Kit (Gouding) was just six years old when his parents took him and fled from their home country after the Vietnam War. Now, thirty years later, he returns to a home country he barely knows where they speak a language he doesn’t understand.
In the film, Kit finds himself in a relationship with Lewis (played by Parker Sawyer.) In his interview with GLAAD, Golding said that he has seen a "mind blowing" amount of a messages given that onscreen representation of a same-sex interracial relationship between two men of color. Queer men of color statistically have less representation of color, and many times, when they are in interracial relationships it is with white partners.
"People really are hungry for reality," he said. "It's a weird concept, isn't it? It's like when you see normality and reality on television or on the big screen it's weird to us. We don't expect it. But when you go out to the middle of New York, London, or Barcelona and you see that on a day-to-day basis ... why can't it be normal?"
You can see Golding starring in Monsoon available nationwide on November 15.