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While not everybody is happy with the fact that the Hellboy franchise is being rebooted, even fewer were happier with one of the casting decisions made. Now, the new actor has responded to the controversy that led to his casting. Daniel Dae Kim, formerly of Lost and Hawaii Five-O, was recently announced as the man who will take over the role of Major Ben Daimio in the new Hellboy movie. The role came about after the previously cast actor, Ed Skrein, stepped down from the spot, and publicly apologized, after discovering that the character he was going to play was Asian in the original comic book. Kim is glad the change was made, and he specifically thanks Skrein, not only for stepping aside, but for doing so gracefully.
I applaud the producers and, in particular, Ed Skrein for championing the notion that Asian characters should be played by Asian or Asian American actors. He could not have addressed the issue more elegantly and I remain indebted to him for his strength of character.
Daniel Dae Kim was previously reported to be in talks to take over the role in the new Hellboy movie, but he's now officially on board the project, and the actor knows, as reflected in his comments reported by THR, he owes a debt to Ed Skrein, as Skrein's understanding that giving up the role was the best thing to do was what gave Kim the opportunity.
The issue of characters created as one race being played in a film by somebody of another race has been an ongoing, and controversial, topic, especially recently. However, while most films have gone through with the race change, Hellboy ended up going back and casting a Korean-American actor after Skrein stepped down.
Ed Skrein's exit from Hellboy was certainly an elegant one. His public statement on social media claimed that he wasn't aware of the character's origin until after he accepted the role. Once he was aware, he gave up the part because he felt that inclusivity was important and he wanted to do his small part to leave opportunities open to actors of other races as much as possible.
In the Hellboy comics, Major Ben Daimio is a member of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. The character did not exist in the previous Hellboy movies from Guillermo del Toro, however, this version of the film adaptation has promised to be more true to the comics. In large part this will be done by adding significant horror elements to the film that will almost certainly earn the movie an R-rating, however, the more true adaptation apparently also means including characters who were left out of the other movies.