'Crazy Rich Asians' leading man had no acting credits before the movie, but auditioned because an accountant remembered him as the real-life version of his character

  • Henry Golding, the star of “Crazy Rich Asians,” never acted before this movie.
  • An accountant named Lisa Kim, who met him five years ago, recommended Golding to director Jon M. Chu, who was having trouble casting the leading man, Nick Young.
  • Golding said he resisted auditioning because of his lack of experience, but Chu was very convincing.

“Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding – a travel show host – took the leading role as Nick Young in the $30 million Warner Bros. rom-com without any acting credits to his name.

Golding told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” Wednesday the story about how he was cast, which involved an accountant who met him five years ago – and some resistance on his end.

“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.'”

Chu, who struggled to get the casting for this role right, took the recommendation from Kim. Chu followed Golding on Instagram, and watched his travel videos on YouTube.

“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 Chu continued to fight for Golding. Through a mutual Facebook friend, Chu arranged a Skype call with Golding to convince him to audition.

“When you meet Jon,” Golding told Fallon, “anyone can tell you: he’s the most convincing human being.” After the Skype call, Golding went through the audition process and chemistry reads with co-star Constance Wu. He said he got pulled out of his honeymoon to complete a screen test (“wife wasn’t happy, still making up for it, but I think she loves me”).

Thursday afternoon, Golding posted a photo on Instagram with Kim, the accountant who recommended him for the movie. Golding said that the image was taken before shooting. “She LOVES hello Kitty and the colour pink,” Golding wrote, “so I scoured the whole of Singapore for the perfect gift … A pink hello kitty coffee mug.”

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Wherever you are Lisa Kim, the world thanks you. “Crazy Rich Asians” is in theaters now.

You can watch the entire interview below:

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