The cast for Netflix’s adaptation of Jane Austen‘s Persuasion is filling out, with Henry Golding now locked in to star alongside Dakota Johnson. This damn film just got about 500% more attractive, my god.

Reported by Deadline in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and then confirmed by Netflix on Twitter, Henry is set to star opposite Dakota in the modern run at Austen’s final fully-completed romance novel, but not as the main love interest. Instead, he’ll be playing the cousin of Dakota’s Anne Elliot – Mr. William Elliot.

The Malaysian-British star firmly placed himself in our hearts back in 2018 as Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians and was quick to flex his acting skills by playing the elite villain in The Gentlemen, and in the psychological crime thriller-cross-black comedy A Simple Favour opposite Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.

Though it feels plain rude that he’s not in the role of Frederick Wentworth – the gorgeous love interest that returns back into Anne’s life when her bougie family is on the brink of bankruptcy – it’s reported he was interested in playing Mr. Elliot because of his callous and contrasting nature.

Henry also gave a little tease about his new role a few days ago on Twitter, which all makes sense now he’s been officially cast in Persuasion.

Clearly not keen to get himself typecast as the handsome AF love interest, I’m excited to see how Henry Golding goes as the posho, widowed distant cousin who pulls Anne into the fancy social circles in Bath. Considering he’s described as “a man without heart or conscience; a designing, wary, cold-blooded being, who thinks only of himself”, it’s certainly going to be interesting. I mean, this man is essentially an Austen fuckboy. That’s what he is.

The role of Mr. Elliot has typically been held by white actors, so Henry’s inclusion in the Netflix adaptation of Persuasion as a Malaysian-British man is pretty cool in regards to diversity and colour-blind casting, allowing people to see themselves represented in some of the great romance storylines of history. (Let’s uh… hope they don’t make it into some ham-fisted storyline a lá Bridgerton.)

That’s all the update we’ve got on the incoming Austen adaptation, but if you need to fill your cup with more 18th Century romance, you can watch the 2007 version of Persuasion (with the perfectly-cast Tobias Menzies as Mr. Elliot) on BritBox, 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice on Netflix, or that Colin Firth BBC series on Stan.

Image: The Gentlemen / Miramax