Last year, Ed Skrein was cast in the new Hellboy reboot as Major Ben Daimio, a character who is Japanese-American in the comics. This quickly sparked controversy as people criticized the film for whitewashing a role that should have gone to an Asian actor. Upon hearing the criticism, Skrein voluntarily and surprisingly dropped out of Hellboy, making way for Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim was cast to replace him. Skrein previously shared his thought on the matter over social media, but he recently opened up a bit further about the experience and the reasoning behind his decision to leave the film. Here's what he said:
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.
At the time, Ed Skrein said that he didn't know the character was of Asian descent when he accepted the role. For Skrein, an actor who just came off of Deadpool, Hellboy would have been a good addition to his career, but the decision to leave the project was "very simple," he told Comicbook.com. Skrein felt it wasn't right to stay in the role when it was meant to be for a diverse character and took himself out of the equation so that the studio could course correct.
At the time of Ed Skrein's initial casting, high-profile whitewashing controversies were still on peoples mind, such as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange or anime adaptations like Ghost in the Shell. Those discussions about race followed both movies all the way up to the release date, so Hellboy tackling that same controversy and actually correcting the problem is notable.
Well, Ed Skrein won't be in the movie, but you can see Hellboy when it arrives in theaters on January 11, 2019. To learn more here's everything that we know so far about the reboot. It's still a long way off from January, but there are plenty of other movies hitting theaters soon. To learn about them all, here's our 2018 movie release guide.