‘Snake Eyes’ actor Henry Golding on casting fallout: Why is race so important?

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jul 24, 2021, 01:01 PM(IST)

Henry Golding addresses the controversy of G.I. Joe being an Asian character in 'Snake Eyes' Photograph:( Twitter )

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Henry Golding is a biracial actor who reportedly said he has always been ‘the outsider’ and was labeled ‘not Asian enough for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’’ and ‘not white enough for ‘Snake Eyes’’. 

 ‘Crazy Rich Asian’ breakout star, Henry Golding—of Asian origin—who will soon be seen in ‘Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins’, reacts to critics of him taking over the role that was originally played by Ray Park (a white actor) in ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ and its 2013 sequel ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’.


In a recent interview, Golding explained why a change in the race of the role doesn’t change its story.

“(Hama) gave us license to co-create with him the backstory that he always wanted to tell… People are like, ‘That’s not history, he’s white.’ Well, maybe Larry had to do that. Larry had to make it such an obvious story. When he was writing comic books, he had to use tropes: White guy learns the way of the ninja. Now you may be white, Black, whatever, but you will be a fish out of water when you are taken from your culture and put in someone else’s. Those are the intricacies we can use in our stories now. That wasn’t the case back in the day,” Golding said about creator Larry Hama’s aspirations behind writing the story of G.I. Joe. 


Golding also confirmed that Hama—who has written most of the G.I. Joe comic books—approves of his casting. 


“It starts from conception, creating stories and characters anybody can play. Is it so important that your character has to be a particular race?” he questioned. ‘If it’s (the character’s) actions that drive the story, then anyone can play it. Anyone should play it. If you’re not serving justice to the page, then what’s the point?” added Golding.


Golding said, “It’s rubbish. We’re playing characters. Not their background,” he said. “It’s bonkers we’re still having those conversations when we’re fighting for something so much bigger. It’s toxic. We should be uplifting each other and rooting for the success of everyone. Not just a few because they’ve been lucky to be brought up in a certain location.”


Henry Golding is a biracial actor who reportedly said he has always been ‘the outsider’ and was labeled ‘not Asian enough for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’’ and ‘not white enough for ‘Snake Eyes’’. 

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