September 17, 2019

If It Wasn’t for an Accountant, Henry Golding Never Would Have Gotten ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Gig

So my wife keeps talking about how she wants to go see “Crazy Rich Asians.” Not interested. Rom-coms aren’t my thing, although I did enjoy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” to which “Crazy Rich Asians” is being compared. The movie’s leading man, Henry Golding, a former travel host for the BBC, had never acted on the big screen before. And he may never have, if it wasn’t for an accountant named Lisa-Kim Kuan.

Kuan met Golding five years ago and recommended him to director Jon M. Chu, who was having trouble casting the leading man, Nick Young, for “Crazy Rich Asians,” Golding recently told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show.”

According to Business Insider, Golding told Fallon:

“As much as I tried not to audition for this,” Golding said, “Jon [Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” director] really sent the hounds on me.”

“There’s this lovely woman in accounting,” Golding said. “Her name’s Lisa Kim. If you’re out there Lisa Kim, I still owe you one. I love you Lisa! She was like, ‘I met this guy about five years ago in Malaysia. I don’t know what he’s doing now, but for me he was this character Nick Young.’”

Based on Kuan’s recommendation, Chu decided to take a chance on Golding, who still thought it was nuts that he was being considered for such a role.

“They sent me about three or four emails asking me to audition,” Golding said. “But I was like, ‘no no no no no. I’m not an actor. I’m sure there’s somebody absolutely amazing ready for this role. And the studio’s not going to gamble on a newbie or a greenhorn.’”

But he did audition, and the rest is history. In its first five days in theaters, “Crazy Rich Asians” has made about $35.3 million, and Golding is starring in two new movies—one coming out later this year and the other in 2019.

We don’t know much about Kuan except that she loves Hello Kitty and the color pink:

Chu does give Kuan credit for helping him find the perfect Nick Young. In an interview with CBC Radio, he said:

“Our accountant in Malaysia, Lisa Kim, said to us, ‘Hey, there’s this guy. Five years ago he presented an award at this film festival and all my assistants and myself are obsessed with him,” remembers Chu with a laugh.

“So I cyberstalked him on Instagram and saw his travel show that he does and he’s so charming he’s so effortlessly cool. He had the perfect British accent, which is what the character required, and he was everything. He was Nick Young. He could be an aristocrat on one side and then all of a sudden the adventurer on the other. That combination is very rare — in any race.”

So, nice job, Lisa-Kim. And congrats on your success, Henry. Still not seeing your movie, tho.

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