Henry Golding on playing William Elliot in Netflix's 'Persuasion'
by Ana Walia | Sun, 17 Jul 2022 17:43:51 GMT
Henry Golding receives praise from director Carrie Cracknell. Image Source: The Mary Sue 

Henry Golding receives praise from director Carrie Cracknell.

Actor Henry Golding is currently seen in Netflix’s "Persuasion," which is an adaptation of author Jane Austen’s novel of the same name. Henry Golding plays the character of William Elliot in the movie, which also stars Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Richard E. Grant, and Nikki Amuka-Bird and is directed by Carrie Cracknell. 

During an interview with Town and Country, the actor said he finds it blasphemy to admit it, but he enjoys current adaptations of historical dramas and is glad that people can now choose to see either the classics or more recent adaptations of long-forgotten tales.

The story of Anne Elliot played by Dakota Johnson, a baronet's daughter who has been lost in life ever since she called off her engagement to the naval officer Frederick Wentworth played by Cosmo Jarvis, is told in "Persuasion." On her journey to finding happiness again, she crosses paths with a distant cousin played by Henry Golding's William Elliot, who has intentions that aren't entirely sincere.

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Henry reveals that the way he was finalized for the part was a challenge, but all he did was try to concentrate on the material that was in front of him and says that it’s all about reading the script thoroughly enough that every thought one has in normal day-to-day life, you’d be thinking like the character you’d be playing, which in his case was William Elliot. Henry said that he would just imagine what William Elliot would be doing in a situation or how he would reply to a certain situation or a question and added that it was all about staying true to the script and coming to the table with a point view about William Elliot.

The Crazy Rich Asians actor mentioned that when there have been so many different iterations of William Elliot, it was important to bring something of his own to the table, and that made it easier for him to not only get the part but also enjoy and have fun playing him on-screen. Jane Austen’s "Persuasions" is filled with plot twists, conflicts, and triumphs of true love, but Henry Golding said the part that appealed to him the most was the character of William Elliot. Among a group of characters who never revealed how they felt, William was honest to a fault. He was up-front about his intentions to marry for status and inherit the family estate and let nothing and no one gets in his way. Henry says that William Elliot is far less complicated than one would imagine.

Defining William further, Henry said that he is one of those people who are aware of what they want in life and would do everything to get it. Talking about the story, Henry said that William has a goal and he would do anything to achieve it, and for him, it was a joy to know that, as much as the character goes through, he is not going to end up with a lady and he just had fun with that.

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Speaking to Town and Country, director Carrie Cracknell said that when they were casting Wentworth and William Elliot, they had a whole range of actors in mind and what was different about Henry Golding was his incredible combination of charisma, intelligence, confidence, and wit, which feels like a fresh thing for a Jane Austen novel or story. Carrie mentioned that she had a conversation with Henry Golding and he was excited to play William on-screen and described him as a "Regency fuckboy," which she loved, and added that there was something about the actor’s confidence and sharpness of his wit that he seemed like a perfect fit for William Elliot.

Since the release of 'Crazy Rich Asians in 2018, Henry Golding has said that he is drawn to characters that itch something not only in his mind but also in his heart. It could be curiosity, envy, a kind of joy, anything, but he said that the character needs to have some sort of emotion that sparks deep within him and mentioned that he is hesitant to believe too much in his hype.

The actor who has been praised for his performances said that he has worked hard for his career and his first passion was hairdressing and working in that industry in London had made him have an immense amount of gratitude and empathy towards people. Kevin Kwan, writer of the book Crazy Rich Asians said that he always joke with Henry Golding asking him if he had ruined his life because it was the movie that launched him into the stratosphere and when they were having a tough time finding their Nick Young, they stumbled across Henry Golding and mentioned that he has this incredible quality to him beyond how he looks which makes him extra special.

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The actor mentioned in Persuasion said that the movie sort of checked multiple boxes on his list as he was not only playing one of the iconic characters in the history of literature, but he was also able to tell the story that would introduce viewers to a wider world. He added that there is a tremendous amount of passion for the author’s work and that he is still learning from her work.

Henry Golding concluded that the lesson from Persuasion that he’d want the audience to find is truthfulness. He said truthfulness, not just with others but also with oneself and their feelings. One may get into a lot of difficulties when they deceive themselves and choose to follow their heads rather than their hearts. But even if it's the incorrect choice, one just have to embrace their reality and live with it. 

Persuasion is streaming on Netflix.