Actor Ed Skrein has dropped out of Hellboy reboot following public outcry against whitewashing in Hollywood. Skrein was roped in to play Major Ben Daimiom which was an Asian character in the Hellboy graphic novels. The Deadpool actor released a statement on his social media accounts explaining his decision. “It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately.
“Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality,” he wrote.
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
Skrein’s casting follows recent controversies in which white actors have been set for roles originally portrayed by people of Asian descent. Scarlett Johansson’s casting as a Japanese human-cyborg in Ghost in the Shell caused an uproar earlier this year, as did Tilda Swinton’s role as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange — a character depicted as an Asian male in the comic book, reported Variety.
“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision. It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material,” Lionsgate, the studio behind the reboot, said in a statement. The creator of the Hellboy comic book, Mike Mignola, thanked Skrein on Twitter. “Very nicely done,” he added. David Harbour is playing the titular role in Hellboy. Neil Marshall is directing the movie, which also features Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich.