Skrein appears to be exiting the project due to the controversial issue that has been cropping up in Hollywood as of late: the whitewashing of a character. In the movie, Skrein would have played the B.P.R.D. member Major Ben Daimio. In the comics, however, Major Daimio is a shifter who is of Asian heritage which Skrein clearly is not.
Skrein took this close to heart after complaints cropped up and has decided to pass on the film releasing this official 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 comic 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 voice in the Arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. There 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 more 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.”
Good for Skrein. While I feel he would have done the character justice personality wise, the roots of Daimio would have felt flat with these changes.
Producers Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Millennium, and Lionsgate also weighed in sharing the following statement:
“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.”
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter