It was only last week that Deadpool’s Ed Skrein officially joined the upcoming Hellboy reboot – Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen – but the actor has now decided to depart the project already.
In an official statement, Skrein revealed that he’s decided to step away from the Major Ben Daimio gig after he realised that the character was of Asian heritage. Concerned that his casting may be seen as another example of Hollywood “whitewashing”, Skrein released the below statement:
“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.”
From the studio’s point of view, Lionsgate added, “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.”
With Rise of the Blood Queen set to start production in September, that means that Lionsgate and director Neil Marshall are now eagerly on the hunt for someone to step in and take over the Daimio role. Already on board for the reboot are David Harbour as Hellboy, Ian McShane as Professor Broom, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan, and Milla Jovovich as the villainous Blood Queen.
As ever, expect more on this as it continues to develop.
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