GRAZIA: How’s your day been so far? Where are you calling in from?
GOLDING: “It’s a little rainy here in New York, I’m not going to lie, I’d rather be in Australia if I’m honest. The weather has been miserable.”
GRAZIA: You’ve been a barber sweep, a hair stylist, a television host and now an actor. Could you ever have imagined your life would have turned out like this?
GOLDING: “In my wildest dreams, YES. It’s a strange one, I’ve always had some sort of draw to movies. I’ve been a massive movie fan for as long as I can remember and there was always a thought of wanting to get into Hollywood at some stage, of course, in entertainment. Did I ever believe I would ever have a chance to? No. Definitely not, no idea. But the chance arose and there was the right script with the right director with the right character and I was up for the challenge. It was very serendipitous, some would say.”
GRAZIA: You interviewed stars for a living and now you’re the one being interviewed. Is that a surreal experience?
GOLDING: “It’s pretty crazy, huh? It almost goes to show, the limit is really ourselves. I was so determined not to be auditioning for this role and I just thought, ‘No way, no one is going to take a chance on someone who hasn’t had experience’. There are amazing Asian actors out there who would be fantastic for this role. I truly didn’t believe I was deserved of this chance. But when the director of Crazy Rich Asians, Jon M. Chu, got in contact with me, I thought, ‘You know what? If I really apply myself, and have faith and know that I have a fantastic work ethic, that this is an opportunity that I would be a fool not to undertake’. Jon convinced me and now I’m the second film in – A Simple Favour is doing amazing, the response has been phenomenal. Working with director Paul Feig has been incredible in this journey.”
GRAZIA: I’m just waiting for a famous director to come and tap me as well…
GOLDING: [Laughs] You’ve got to start wearing your CV on the red carpet just in case someone happens to come across you when you’re doing the junkets.”
GRAZIA: [Laughs] That’s very good advice, thank you! Designers like Tom Ford at NYFW have come tapped you as their front row guests. What was that show like? What was sitting next to Anna Wintour like?
GOLDING: “It was stunning, I’ve been the biggest Tm Ford fan from a far from the longest of time. Back when I was a hair stylist, I was involved with fashion – it was the industry that we were in. I used to pull pages of Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford and Versace and put them up on my locker just as inspiration. So to be in that front row amongst Anna Wintour, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, it’s fantastic, it’s mind blowing. I think Ford has been extremely supportive of premieres in the past and it really was the cherry on top to have the privilege of sitting right there in the front row for that New York Fashion Week moment.”
GRAZIA: Cardi B was the other side of you. Do you listen to her music?
GOLDING: “I am very familiar with her music! She is one of the strongest female rappers/artists in the world right now…”
GRAZIA: “Don’t tell Nicki Minaj that one…
GOLDING: “But of course I sway towards Tom Hanks in that group. I’ve been watching him since I was little. I was blown away, I was literally – my stomach was in my mouth as he came up to me and said, ‘I watched Crazy Rich Asians a couple of days ago with Rita and you were fantastic in it.’ I was like, ‘Tom, you cannot say this to me!’ It was as real as it gets. I was fan-boying for sure.”
GRAZIA: How did you land A Simple Favour? How did it come about?
GOLDING: “I got a call from my agent straight out of wrapping Crazy Rich Asians and he tells me Paul Feig wants to jump on Skype as soon as I was free. He was in Toronto at the time doing a scout for his new film A Simple Favour and he said he would love for me to read for the role of Shaun. Of course this time round, I was like ‘Yes’, I’d been a massive Paul Feig fan for the longest time. I love his comedies that he’s done. When they told me this was a suspense thriller with an insidious comedy sprinkled throughout it, I was so intrigued. By the end of our conversation, I was like, ‘Whatever he needs, I will do. Point me in the right direction and I’m going to work hard for him!’ I read the script and it was so mouth-on-the-floor at some points. It all came to be.”
GRAZIA: The director to, Paul, I heard was incredible and always styled in suits every day. What was the best piece of advice he gave you?
GOLDING: “Paul is very much an actor/director. He came from our side of the camera and he still does. It was really experiencing a different type of directing. He would allow the scenes to play through and he would give small adjustments and he would do a lot of coverage so we would have a lot of choice in edit. He was very much allowing me to become myself. He put trust in me and said, ‘Henry, you’ve got such amazing instincts. Trust them and you will go tremendously far.’ He just really wanted for me to come into my own because he saw the potential and saw something that Jon saw. That was the greatest thing to hear from somebody.”
GRAZIA: You get to kiss both actresses in this film – as a new actor, were you nervous about these scenes leading up to them?
GOLDING: “Paul runs his sets like he does in person; he is the consummate gentleman. There is no after set in Hollywood than a Paul Feig film and he makes sure everybody knows exactly what’s happening and there’s no surprises. For me, going into it, it was really a joy not only because I get to make out with Blake and Anna but because there was no nervousness, it was really art that we were trying to portray and make a beautiful film. So, yes of course, I’m not complaining. It was really nice to be able to not go into it feeling like I was doing something wrong or that I had to explain myself. So there was a joy in that?”
GRAZIA: What was Blake Lively like to work with?
GOLDING: “Blake is one of the most amazing women that I’ve had to joy to meet. She is a fantastic mother, she’s a dedicated mother at that, and her and Ryan have brought their kids up in this crazy industry and they are just joyful. When I first met Blake – of course I’d watched her stuff on Gossip Girl and countless movies – I had some butterflies. I remember we were travelling to set and she was like, ‘Just jump in my car, we’ll have a little chat and we’ll catch up and read through the lines.’ It was just like we had known each other for years. It’s that comfort and familiarity that Blake gives everybody. You could be a stranger and Blake sets you at ease. There’s that joy in meeting Blake.”
A Simple Favour is in Australian cinemas now.