The reboot of Hellboy is in early development stages, and what we know so far is that the film will be directed by Neil Marshall, and will star David Harbour in the title role. We also know that Ed Skrein (of Deadpool), who was recently cast in the part of Major Daimio, will no longer be appearing in the film.
Skrein’s casting created controversy due to Major Daimio’s heritage, which, in the Hellboy comics, is Japanese-American. Concerns over whitewashing have arisen throughout Hollywood for years, with recent controversies particularly surfacing around Asian and Asian-American roles (see: Ghost in the Shell, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange).
Today, Skrein took to twitter to announce that he will exit the project, saying he didn’t know the backstory of the character, and that he didn’t want to contribute to “the worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the arts.” It’s believable, if unfortunate, that Skrein would take the part without knowledge of the character’s story. These are business decisions after all.
Skrein’s willingness to walk away from the part will hopefully benefit all parties, and lead casting agents towards making better decisions in the first place. His full statement is below.
–Christopher Zumski Finke