Henry Golding Reveals He Was Reluctant to Star in 'Crazy Rich Asians'
Warner Bros. Pictures

He credits director Jon M. Chu for his decision to take on the role, adding that he's 'a very convincing human being.'

AceShowbiz - Acting newcomer Henry Golding has blamed a "mental block" for repeatedly declining a lead role in new romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians" to focus on his career as a TV presenter.

The British-Malaysian star, who has been a host on the BBC's "The Travel Show" since 2014, was first approached by director Jon M. Chu about playing central character Nick Young in the film adaptation of Kevin Kwan's bestselling book in 2016, but Henry passed on the project.

It took the filmmaker several more attempts to persuade the 31 year old he was the right man for the job, and eventually, Henry accepted the opportunity to make his acting debut in the historic production.

"This is my first acting job. No pressure!" he laughed in a cast interview on breakfast show "Today".

Explaining his hesitation, Henry said, "Jon did an amazing job looking for the exact, right actors for each and every role. He literally scoured the world and he was struggling to find the correct Nick Young.

"At the time, I was presenting, doing travel shows and everything, and so they (filmmakers) reached out, and because I was a presenter, I was like, 'Oh no, no, I won't read for it 'cause I'm staying in my lane.' I had this mental block.

"But he (Jon) reached out and he's a very convincing human being, and a wonderful one at that, and the rest is history!"

Henry portrays the boyfriend of Constance Wu's character Rachel Chu, with Michelle Yeoh playing his domineering movie mum.

Other castmates include "Ocean's 8" actress/rapper Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, and Ken Jeong, and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Michelle is thrilled to be included in the first major Hollywood production to boast an all-Asian line-up in 25 years, since 1993's "The Joy Luck Club".

"I'm so proud to be part of this, it's a long time coming...," she gushed. "We're not just a token for diversity (in this film)... Representation means you have a meaningful character that has hopes and dreams, and in this, in 'Crazy Rich Asians', that's what we all have."

The actress is confident the movie will inspire more diversity both in front of, and behind, the camera, and she has tipped her younger co-stars for huge success in the near future: "I look at these young people in awe," Michelle smiled. "Seriously, they are just so brilliant."

"Crazy Rich Asians", which has received rave reviews, opened in the U.S. on Wednesday, August 15.

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