Some surprising but also pretty satisfying news has come from Hellboy: Rise Of The Blood Queen: Ed Skrein, who was recently cast as Major Ben Daimio, dropped out of the film following whitewashing criticisms.
According to a statement he posted from his Twitter account, Skrein didn’t realise that his character was originally Japanese-American in the comics, and playing Ben Daimio didn’t sit right with him.
Last week it was announced that I would be playing Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy reboot. I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage. There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right.
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 voices in the Arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. Therefore 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 moral 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.
I am sad to leave Hellboy but if this decision brings us closer to that day, it is worth it. I hope it makes a difference.
It looks like Skrein’s move might actually make a bigger impact on the film, as studio Lionsgate has since released a statement saying that the character will be cast more appropriately.
The statement read: “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 actor David Harbour (Stranger Things) also weighed in:
Hey internet. Thank you for your voices.
An injustice was done and will be corrected.
— David Harbour (@DavidKHarbour) August 28, 2017
Maybe this will start a chain reaction…
Hellboy: Rise Of The Blood Queen doesn’t yet have a release date. Get all the latest sci-fi news with every issue of SciFiNow.