When the decision to cast actor Ed Skrein as Japanese American character Ben Daimio in the Hellboy movie caused criticism of whitewashing, the actor stepped down from the role.
Now the creator of Hellboy and the actor set to star in the new reboot commented on Skrein’s decision, lending support to the actor for leaving the production.
Skrein clarified his decision with a post on social media, saying “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.”
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, who is consulting on the new film not not involved in the production, provided a simple response.
“thank you [Ed Skrein] very nicely done…” Mignola wrote on Twitter.
— Mike Mignola (@artofmmignola) August 28, 2017
Actor David Harbour, who will be taking over the titular role from Ron Perlman in the new movie, offered gratitude to Skrein for his decision.
“Many thanks to [Ed Skrein] for doing what is right.”
Hey internet. Thank you for your voices.
An injustice was done and will be corrected.
— David Harbour (@DavidKHarbour) August 28, 2017
Announced last week, Skrein took the role of Major Ben Daimio, a Japanese American military man with the ability to turn into a were-jaguar. The news that the new Hellboy movie was whitewashing the character was met with criticism.
“Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family,” said Skrein’s statement. “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.”
Producers Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon issued a joint statement with Lionsgate and Millennium Films in support of the actor’s decision and a commitment to honor the character’s depiction in the comics.
“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.”
This would have been Skrein’s second comic book role after appearing as the villain Ajax (AKA Francis) in Deadpool. He also starred in the third season of Game of Thrones as Daario Naharis before the role was recast.