Ed Skrein has exited the Hellboy reboot following public outcry. His casting as Major Ben Daimio — an Asian character in the graphic novels — reignited conversations about whitewashing that have long plagued Hollywood.
The Deadpool actor released a statement Monday on Instagram explaining why he dropped out of the project.
Skrein’s casting follows similar recent controversies in which white actors have been set for roles originally portrayed by people of Asian descent.Scarlett Johansson’s casting as the star of Ghost in the Shell caused an uproar earlier this year, as did Tilda Swinton’s role in Doctor Strange — depicted as an Asian male in the comic source material.
“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision,” Lionsgate said in a statement. “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.”
David Harbour is starring in the film, which is based on the the demonic hero from comic book creator Mike Mignola. Neil Marshall is helming the movie, which also stars Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich.
Here's what Daimio looks like in the comics:
Last week the Hellboy casting issue blew up on Twitter following an exchange between executive producer Christa Campbell and a user named Mike Smith.
Smith tweeted that Campbell was "racist" and threatened to boycott all her films, including her recently released The Hitman's Bodyguard.
I thought about seeing it, but now that I know you're a racist, given your whitewashed Hellboy casting, I will boycott anything you produce.
— Mike Smith (@bladeoffire1) August 22, 2017
According to NextShark, Campbell initially responded (and later deleted), "Someone comes and does a great audition to get the role. Stop projecting your own shit onto us. We are all one. We don't see colours or race."
This comment raised more than just a few eyebrows, as many consider the phrase "I don't see colour" equivalent to saying "I'm ignorant."
And this is the problem - they don't (or they refuse to) "see colors or race" when, in fact, colors and race exist. Not everything is white. https://t.co/Q4vueru9X3
— Julia Morizawa (@juliamorizawa) August 24, 2017
— Linda Ge (@lindazge) August 24, 2017
HELLBOY producer acting like not casting a talented Asian actor is meritocratic. Ignoring race is just another form of white privilege https://t.co/xkKefFwbqg
— Sam Flynn (@Samflynn1992) August 24, 2017