Last week it was announced that Ed Skrein had joined the cast of the Hellboy reboot in the role of Major Ben Daimio, a member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, and an Asian character. As one might expect, Skrein’s casting caused some controversy over the whitewashing of the character, and the actor has now revealed that he’s decided to step down from the project so the role can be cast appropriately:
“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 voice in the Arts”, said Skrein. “I feel it is important to honour and respect that. There 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 more 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.”
Lionsgate also released a statement, which reads: “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.”
Hellboy is set to begin production in September, with filming taking place in the UK and Bulgaria. Neil Marshall (Game of Thrones) directs a cast that includes David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Hellboy, Ian McShane (American Gods) as Professor Broom, Sasha Lane (American Honey) as Alice Monaghan and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil) as the Queen of Blood.