The Hellboy reboot will need to find a new Ben Daimio.
Last week the production, under the direction of The Descent's Neil Marshall and starring Stranger Things' David Harbour in the title role, announced that Deadpool's Ed Skrein had joined the cast. Skrein would be playing Ben Daimio, an officer in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense who also happens to be a were-jaguar.
This presented a problem for many fans. Skrein, an English actor, had been cast to play a Japanese-American character from the BPRD comics. Because Daimio's heritage plays a major role in his character, and because a Japanese-American actor could have certainly been cast in this first place, the news quickly sparked an outcry. Hellboy fans and Asian-American actors alike took issue with the decision, and the frustration quickly spread online.
Well, Skrein heard it, and now he's bowing out of the role. The actor released this statement via his Twitter page Monday.
Ed Skrein is a talented actor, and in all of the controversy surrounding his casting his skill at his craft wasn't in question. The real issue was with filmmakers making conscious decisions to visibly and responsibly increase diversity both in front of and behind the camera. Skrein's decision to step away and allow a more appropriate actor to take his place is both graceful and commendable.
What's still not clear is how he got the role in the first place. Skrein claims he wasn't aware of the character's heritage and its impact, but surely someone in the Hellboy production was. Hopefully they'll make the right decision going forward.