Just as quickly as it was announced that Deadpool’s Ed Skrein would portray Major Ben Daimio in the Neil Marshall reboot of the Hellboy franchise, Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, the actor has left the project today over concerns of “whitewashing”.
Skrein published the following statement on his twitter page:
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
As Skrein states, the character he signed up to play is of Asian descent (and also a were-jaguar). It appears that the actor was entirely unaware of the ethnicity of Daimio, but after some mild complaints on his twitter page, he decided to exit the project. In the comics that the film will be based on, Major Ben Daimio is also considerably older than the actor selected to portray him (but there have been no recorded complaints from AARP members at this time).
Skrein’s temporary co-star David Harbour also took to twitter to praise the actor’s choice stating: ““Hey internet. Thank you for your voices. An injustice was done and will be corrected. Many thanks to @edskrein for doing what is right.”
The producers of the new film (Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Millennium, and Lionsgate) also released a statement Monday in support of Skrein’s decision stating that “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.”
Ironically, Skrein’s next appearance on the silver screen will come in the form of Robert Rodriguez’s anime adaptation Alita: Battle Angel on July 20th, 2018, which features a very diverse cast, but was also accused of ‘whitewashing” by various sources for not casting any Asian actors in principal roles.
Stay tuned to Horror News Network for further casting details and news about the upcoming Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen.