Singaporeans and Malaysians are at loggerheads over many things.
But they are seeing eye to eye on an issue involving the casting of actor Henry Golding in the Hollywood movie "Crazy Rich Asians".
Auditioned four times
For context, Canadian actor Simu Liu shared on the May 18 podcast episode of "How To Fail With Elizabeth Day" that not being cast in "Crazy Rich Asians" was one of his fails.
He said that he auditioned about four times for the movie, for different roles including main character Nick Young and smaller roles like Colin Khoo and Michael Teo.
These roles were later given to Malaysian-British actor Henry Golding, Australian actor Chris Pang and Singaporean actor Pierre Png respectively.
When asked if he received feedback after the failed auditions, he said: "Through some sort of broken telephone whether it had gone through a studio executive or a casting director before it got to our side... 'Well, Simu doesn't have the X factor, the it factor', and that was just such a crashing blow for me."
However, he did stress that "Crazy Rich Asians" director Jon M. Chu was adamant that he didn't say that.
Liu said that he was proud of the movie, nonetheless.
"I am very, very happy and proud of the success of the movie. When it came out there was no feeling -- and usually, there are, believe me -- but there was no feeling of jealousy on my part. I was truly, truly happy that it existed."
The episode unintentionally sparked a big conversation on Twitter about Golding's role in the 2018 movie.
(Although, we have to add, that Liu never commented or questioned Golding's casting in the podcast interview.)
A Twitter user mentioned that it "makes a lot more sense" to cast Liu in the movie since "most Singaporeans are ethnically Chinese".
and what does a malaysian/british actor know ab singapore? Most singaporeans are ethnically chinese anyway so simu makes a lot more sense than a half white one but as i said yall LOVE the yts so get into it— eryka✨ (@justlikeDW) May 21, 2022
Another shared similar sentiments, saying that many people looked past the fact that Golding "is half white".
seeing a bunch of nonwhite people claim that Simu Liu doesn't have the right "look" for the role and finding it wild that nobody is connecting this to the fact that Henry Golding is half white. all they keep saying is "look at the material." y'all some losers lmao. https://t.co/DOoQmB19UW— 🏳️⚧️bunny x🍑 (@thotscholar) May 20, 2022
These tweets brought further discourse to the Twitterverse, with more Southeast Asians defending Golding's casting in "Crazy Rich Asians".
the difference is if I call Simu Liu a cibai he won't understand but at least Henry Golding would https://t.co/qZz5ZNbXHN— c⁷🧜🏼♀️ | proof out 10/6 (@lesserapearls) May 22, 2022
And what does Simu Liu knows about Singaporean/Southeast Asian culture?— W=F.s (@theisyraff) May 22, 2022
Lemme guess, zero.
Being a Chinese doesn’t mean he knows about another predominantly-Chinese country’s culture. Don’t cry over a movie released for nearly over 4 years please…
simu liu wouldnt know the difference between teh o ais and teh ais but henry golding would! https://t.co/4Pa12cGhq8— ryo (@nishinikha) May 22, 2022
Movie perfectly cast
While he didn't directly address the heated argument on Twitter, Liu tweeted on May 22 that his experience auditioning for "Crazy Rich Asians" led to "really meaningful feedback" about his work and craft.
He also put it on record that the movie was "perfectly cast just the way it was".
Most Asian actors/actresses remember auditioning for Crazy Rich Asians. It was so exciting! My experience led to some really meaningful feedback being shared about my work and craft.— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) May 22, 2022
In the end, that movie was PERFECTLY cast just the way it was. And paved way for all of us! pic.twitter.com/ROtaLB3L3l
Top image screenshot from Twitter, Henry Golding and Simu Liu's Instagram page.