Last year came the news that British and very caucasian actor Ed Skrein had been cast as the Japanese-American character of Major Ben Daimio from the comics in the upcoming reboot of the “Hellboy” film franchise.
This sparked controversy and claims of whitewashing a role which should have gone to an Asian actor. Very quickly though Skrein voluntarily dropped out of the project citing the backlash and saying he he didn’t know the character was of Asian descent when he accepted the role. He asked to be replaced by someone more suitable – with Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim ultimately cast in the part.
Skrein received praise for not just his actions but his handling of the whole affair, and in a new interview with ComicBook.com explains the reasoning behind his decision to leave the film:
“We have public personas and such that build up through what people translate in our images, and our aesthetics, and creating their own narratives to that, and the narratives that we create through our interviews.
People build up ideas of us from the characters that we play, but people that know me personally would not be surprised by my reaction to that and that there was no option, and they would have known that that was something that I just wouldn’t have been able to enter into.
Anything I do I have to do wholeheartedly, so no, it was a very simple decision. It meant a lot to me that it meant a lot to other people and that it resonated so much with people.”
The new “Hellboy” has yet to release any publicity material. It is currently slated for release in cinemas on January 11th 2019.