Malaysian-British actor Henry Golding has set tongues wagging because a trailer for the gay film Monsoon shows him kissing another male actor.
Golding plays Kit, a Vietnamese-born man who appears to have fallen for African-American Lewis, played by Parker Sawyers.
The movie, which is not entirely about Kit’s sexuality, focuses on the cultural alienation following his return to Vietnam, from which his family had fled when he was a child. Many years later, he returns to Ho Chi Minh City, weighed down by grief to scatter his parents’ ashes. He feels like an outsider in his homeland which has changed so much that he does not recognise it.
Monsoon has caught attention because Golding, a straight actor, is playing a gay role.
In an interview with Attitude, the British gay lifestyle magazine, he shared about why he took the role. “I’m going to accept this role because of the journey it represents in this man. It’s not a journey into his queerness. It’s a journey into his history,” said Golding.
When speaking about his co-actor, he recalled a conversation with the movie’s director Hong Khaou: “When I was talking to Hong in LA, he already had Parker in mind for the role and so I Googled his name and his image and was like, ‘Damn, he’s handsome, he’s tall, he works out, I could be in worse positions!’” The actor also mentioned that his wife was more excited than he was about Parker, 36.
Although Golding is married, people have questioned his sexuality after viewing the trailer. One thing we can be sure about is that Golding acts well and has a great personality.
Here are some reactions from fans on Twitter after seeing him in action:
serpentbrownie wrote: I’m generally not one to vouch for heteros playing queer characters butttt since I’m petty and personal I’m all for this simply because I know the locals are losing their raisin minds over this.
lightsong96 wrote: I’m liking/rting this tweet for two reasons: Henry Golding playing a gay character is a fantasy came true and homophobic Malaysians are going to flip over this.
notagainben wrote: If you told me this movie starring Henry Golding and Parker Sawyers had a runtime of 406 hours I would watch it on repeat.
Golding, 33, has an Iban mother and an English father. He has spent his whole life navigating two cultures but feeling as if he does not fully belong to either one. To him he grew up “never quite understanding a sense of home”. Was home Malaysia, where he was born, or England where he moved to at the age of eight?
Following Crazy Rich Asians, the rom-com blockbuster that propelled him to fame, Golding received a script for Monsoon, where he connected instantly with its sensitive exploration of a gay British Vietnamese man’s search for identity.
Monsoon is Lilting director Hong’s lyrical new drama.