Henry Golding cast in a surprising role in the Dakota Johnson version of ‘Persuasion’

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A few weeks ago, we heard about a very strange Netflix film and very odd casting for that film. Netflix is producing an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which is one of Austen’s best books and most underrated stories. The story is about Anne Elliot and her “too proud” family, a family which has lost their money. Anne rejected the love of her life Captain Wentworth when she was just a teenager, and then Wentworth comes back into her life and she must “persuade” him to fall for her again. Within all of that drama, a dodgy cousin comes calling. I said weeks ago that Dakota Johnson is just too young and hot to play any version of Anne Elliot. But I was curious about who would get cast as Wentworth. Well… some additional casting news. Henry Golding has been cast. But not as Wentworth! AS THE DODGY COUSIN, William Elliot.

Henry Golding has been cast alongside Dakota Johnson in Netflix’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel “Persuasion.” The movie will serve as a modern-day retelling of the romantic drama, centering on the conforming Anne Elliot (Johnson), who lives with her snobby family on the brink of bankruptcy. When Anne, unmarried at 27-years-old, reconnects with Frederick Wentworth, a man she was once persuaded to reject, she faces a second chance at love.

Golding, who shot to stardom as the heartthrob Nick Young in “Crazy Rich Asians” and later led the romantic comedies “A Simple Favor” and “Last Christmas,” surprisingly has not been cast as the love interest. Instead, he will play Mr. Elliot, the cousin of Johnson’s character. Netflix has not announced the actor who will play Frederick Wentworth.

The film is expected to begin filming this month. MRC Film, the studio behind “Knives Out” and “The Lovebirds,” is developing “Persuasion” with Netflix.

[From Variety]

How in the world are you going to cast someone hot and young as Anne Elliot and then cast someone handsome, charming and likeable as The Sketchy Cousin? This is such bad casting! I’m not saying Golding would be right for Wentworth, but he would definitely be *more right* for Wentworth than William Elliot. Ugh! And I’m sure the white supremacists will be mad about the very idea that a white woman would have an Asian cousin! I think that’s possibly why they’ve cast Golding in the role – to make it visually obvious that even though we’re talking about a possible marriage between cousins, they’re very “different” genetically. Maybe the modernization will create some kind of backstory where they’re not even genetic cousins. And where’s the Wentworth for this clown show??? I’m so mad!!

Dakota Johnson attends The premiere of "The Peanut Butter Falcon" in Los Angeles

Last Christmas 11112019

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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52 Responses to “Henry Golding cast in a surprising role in the Dakota Johnson version of ‘Persuasion’”

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  1. Renee says:

    I’m actually here for this and can’t wait to see how they adapt the story in this movie. I like Dakota & Henry so I’m looking forward to watching it.

    • KA says:

      Agree. I love this story so much. I do hope it is a bit more of a “loose” adaptation. But the story is so good and relatable- so many people wonder if they met their teenage love later in life if the time/circumstances would make the relationship different. And in a modern context, it makes it even more relatable because most people don’t marry their high school sweetheart and would be persuaded by family/friends to wait, see what else was out there, etc.

    • KNy says:

      Same! The cousin is supposed to be a fairly charismatic character, who seems like the obvious, reasonable choice for Anne on the surface. When they were making Bridget Jones’ Diary (which was of course based on Pride & Prejudice) they brilliantly cast Hugh Grant as the scoundrel. He was at his prime Hugh Grant-ness and was a huge romantic lead actor and the most famous face on the poster. For there to be true tension, the “other guy” has to be somewhat of a catch, at least on the surface. Henry Golding is a freaking catch. He is so gorgeous and he’s quite charming, from what I’ve seen in his other rolls/interviews. Given nowadays people don’t marry their cousins (except for Rudy Giuliani, I suppose), I sort of doubt they will have them be blood related. Maybe step-cousins who didn’t grow up together, or something altogether different. I’m so glad they didn’t just cast a generic throwaway as William Elliot. He needs to be someone who the audience sees as a reasonable choice, at least for part of the movie.

      As for Dakota Johnson, there was a show a number of years ago where she played a single mom who certainly wasn’t a femme fatale, and she did such a good job and was funny. I think they could sort make her up (down?) to be a little bit plainer. Anne Elliot wasn’t ugly or even old (Wentworth, William Elliot, and even Charles Musgrove wanted to marry her), and towards the end of the book even Anne’s vain father remarks about how good she looks. She was just heartbroken and it tool a toll on her.

      The casting of Wentworth will obviously be critical, but they totally have to do right by my faaaavorite character, Mary Musgrove. She is the comic relief.

      For those who haven’t read Persuasion, you can listen to it for free on Librivox. There’s an app for phones or you can just go to the website. I totally recommend the one that is read by the narrator Karen Savage. #nerdout

      • Renee says:

        Thanks KNy for the info on listening to Persuasion for free. I’ll download the app today!

      • Emmy Rae says:

        Agree, I think this is great casting. One thing that always bugs me about the Keira Knightley P&P is that Darcy’s cousin is clearly NOT a love interest. He’s not a major character but it’s annoying – like did they think we wouldn’t realize Darcy is the one she’ll end up with?

        So I’m glad they aren’t trying that here.

      • Lou says:

        Darcy’s cousin? Do you mean Colonel Fitzwilliam? That movie never intends for him to be a romantic option.

      • Emmy Rae says:

        @Lou The movie doesn’t. The book briefly does. I thought the movie went way out of it’s way to say “NOPE, not him”

  2. Becks1 says:

    Ohhhh I love Henry Golding but…..I dont know. So much hinges on who they cast as Wentworth.

  3. Courtney B says:

    Henry Golding is yum. But you’d think VARIETY of all publications would know A Simple Favor was very *not* a romantic comedy. It wasn’t even a romance.

  4. Watson says:

    I love how hot Henry is. I would
    Probably watch this on Netflix, while my husband rolled his eyes at me. Lol!

  5. Shawna says:

    I bet Henry Golding wants to play against type. Smart move.

    • ItReallyIsYouNotMe says:

      That’s a good point. My first thought was why not make him Wentworth and add a racism angle to this story to modernize it- as in, the family doesn’t think that Wentworth is good enough for a white English lady in the 18th century because he is of Asian heritage. But maybe Henry wanted to play against type. I was going to watch this anyway but now I am really excited.

      BTW, one of my COVID projects was to re-read all the Jane Austen books. I liked Persuasion much better than when I was in my twenties. Perhaps it’s a book that one appreciates a bit more with a little “patina” on one (doing my best Jane Austen impression here). But P&P will always be my favorite because….Darcy.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree. The romantic lead is usually a boring part to play. I think this will let him show his skills in other areas, like comedy or being a jerk. It’s probably a great move for him.

  6. sunny says:

    I was actually like, there is no way they could cast him as Wentworth bc how the hell could your family talk you our of marrying Harry Golding??? Have they seen him?

    I feel like this casting is generally a mess because I cannot see Dakota as Anne. Another Persuasion adaption is in the works with Sarah Snook and I feel like that one might end up better.

    • ShazBot says:

      I don’t know if it’s a testament to Sarah Snook’s acting or what, but she just looks SO ARROGANT to me because of Succession, so I’m skeptical on her ability to convincingly play Anne.

      • ib says:

        She’s the childhood best friend of my friend’s best friend from college, and IRL she is NOTHING like her character in succession. Absurdly low key and humble. Like, after winning an Emmy, she insisted on staying on her best friend’s sofa when she was visiting. And went out to dinner with his friends where everyone just assumed she was a run of the mill out of town friend/another young person trying to make it in the world like the rest of us. If you check out her Instagram you will also see that she is v v chill – I get a bit of Brie Larson personality vibes from her

  7. ib says:

    Well this is NONSENSE casting, ugh. Maybe Rege Jean Page will be wentworth? THAT would be the only thing that could appease my indignation. Or Daniel Dae Kim. Or either of the older two Bridgerton brothers I suppose. Or David(?) Armitage. But any of those suggestions are a shot in h3ll of actually happening. So this casting of Henry Golding is very stupid and frustrating.

  8. Case says:

    Idk, I like weird and unexpected casting. It shakes things up. This adaptation sounds fun.

    • Lexi says:

      That’s how I feel. I’m bored with castings that are predictable. Maybe since I find Henry hot, I will root for him a little bit, and that always makes it fun.

    • Alexandra says:

      I AGREE!

  9. Rose says:

    I’m still in. I’ll watch this probably 10 times in row. I’m in the minority on this but I like Dakota for Anne (and have loved the Annes of Persuasions Past) and I hope Golding has some fun playing against type. I want to know more casting details!!!

  10. FancyCatsup says:

    Why can’t they just give us 2 hours of Henry Golding playing with kittens? I’d prefer that.

    • Lightpurple says:

      I volunteer our cats as tribute for a two hour film of Henry Golding playing with kitties.

  11. Tiff says:

    I don’t understand… why isn’t he Wentworth?!?

  12. Concern Fae says:

    Meh. I’m waiting and giving this a chance. All of the casting choices have to be seen in light of how they are framing Anne as different from her social climbing family. I can totally see Dakota as the “sweet” sister seen by her ambitious father and sister as socially hopeless. As for Henry, he’s played the handsome prince up to now, let’s give him a chance to play the cad. If he can pull this off, which I think he can, it’s actually the role which will set him up for a longer term success in Hollywood.

    Austen movies are as much about the ensemble as the stars. When doing an update, it can be tricky to map the life paths of the Regency era onto our own. I can totally see Persuasion updated to a young woman who sensibly didn’t marry her college boyfriend, but became a writer(?), and is now watching her friends marry and have families, while she is worried about making her rent. College boyfriend shows up, wealthy and checking out her unmarried friends, while she wonders if she should have married him then. (Although, honestly the answer is no. That movie would be about how his startup tech dudebro ass dumped her, screwed her over in the prenup, and is now courting women she babysat when they were toddlers.)

  13. Cee says:

    The Elliots, though idiots, are supposed to be very good looking people, and so is William Elliot so I really don’t see a problem with casting Henry. He is, after all, extremely good looking.

    • sarah says:

      Agree – one of Austen’s themes in Persuasion is that the Elliots don’t value true worth only beauty and standing. William Elliot has value in their eyes because he is beautiful and from the right family (their own!) The whole point is that this is only skin deep and he has not true worth at all. I actually think Henry Golding is excellent casting.

      Also – the book is not about Anne “persuading” Wentworth to fall in love/trust her again, its about whether Anne can stand up for herself and stop being easily persuadable by others about what she should want in life.

  14. vexa says:

    Actually I could really see Henry playing Mr. Elliot as a handsome-but-douchey playboy type; then they can contrast that with kind, down to earth Frederick. I feel that’s what they’re going for.

    It does feels a bit random but I kind of like that – there’s been a million adaptations of every Jane Austen book by this point so why not go for something totally out there? It might flop but then if it does, I’ll just go back and watch the Sally Hawkins one.

  15. Mcmmom says:

    As the mother to Asian sons who so rarely see themselves depicted on screen, I’m thrilled about this casting. An Asian villain, an Asian heartthrob, an Asian boss, an Asian athlete – please just get more diversity on film and not just as the “best friend.”

    • Normades says:

      Exactly. From Henry to BTS, both Reggies from Riverdale…it’s nice to finally see Asian men regarded as Sexy instead of sexless.

      Also we all know Henry is charming and a great guy irl, but I’m sure he’ll easily pull off being a total douche. This sounds like the more fun role.

  16. Saartjie says:

    Dakota Johnson is 31 years old, so she is actually pretty spot on in terms of age

    • Jordan says:

      Thank you! Anne is 27 and is supposed to be beautiful. This objection to Dakota’s casting is completely bonkers.

  17. Esme says:

    It’s a good role, though. The cousin is great “on paper” and just a little bit off. It takes a good actor to portray that nuance. And young pretty people in period costume are always a somewhat decent watch, for a Sunday afternoon or something.

  18. Plums says:

    Wentworth better not be white, is all I have to say about this.

  19. Gah says:

    Was thinking about Him just last night- I also love this casting.

    More HG please. Also made me think how miscast Constance Wu was in Hustlers and CRA but whatevs.

    Love the turn this Persuasion is taking!

  20. Nic919 says:

    I don’t see why Henry Golding isn’t cast as Wentworth because that is the main male lead and you are supposed to root for him to get with Anne Elliott by the end. How many guys will be viewed as a viable alternative to Henry Golding, who as William Elliott is playing a total scam artist. I mean sure Golding will be great at it, but you are going to want Anne to end up with him.

    Unless Regé Jean Page shows up as Wentworth, but I doubt that RJP wants to be tied to costume drama that much right now.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Did you see Golding in ‘The Gentlemen’ ? He can play dodgy.

  22. Isabella says:

    I like Jane Austen’s dodgy characters, like Frank Churchill. Her heroes tend to be a snooze.

  23. The Recluse says:

    Anne Eliot does not ‘persuade’ Wentworth to come back to her. Persuasion just refers to how she was persuaded in the past to turn him down and has come to regret it. It also refers to attempts to persuade her again in terms of her dodgy cousin when he turns out to be terrible.
    That’s what I love about the Ciaran Hinds version: both characters rediscover each other.

  24. Lola B says:

    My cousins are half Chinese. Turns out white people can marry not white people. Call Mike Wallace, I know.

    • Elisa says:

      Yes and remember, Henry Golding is half white in real life! So he could totally be a blood cousin of Dakota’s character.

    • Normades says:

      Yea, I’m half Asian and look very Asian. All my cousins are white.

  25. Gobo says:

    Ann Elliot was 27. Dakota is 31. How on Earth is she too young for this role?

  26. Bread and Circuses says:

    Well, they certainly chose a dodgy cousin who would be VERY tempting. Henry Golding is one handsome man.