The pre-production of Lionsgate's highly-anticipated Hellboy reboot hit a rough patch last month when they cast Ed Skrein as Major Ben Daimio. Fans were less than pleased with the decision to cast a white actor for the part of the Japanese-American character, but it appears that the studio may be correcting course after the outcry.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the part is now most likely to go to Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim, best known for his roles in Hawaii Five-O and Lost. The actor is reportedly in negotiations to replace Skrein, who voluntarily left the project after hearing fans’ concerns. The character is an agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and a former Marine, who was mysteriously revived and possessed by a jaguar god.
The correction is definitely a step in the right direction for the studio, but it’s one that may come across as too little too late for some fans. In recent years Hollywood’s whitewashing of Asian and Asian-American characters has become a major point of criticism, especially in the realm of comic book adaptations, with Marvel’s Iron Fist and Doctor Strange coming under fire for their decisions. It’s good that Lionsgate fixed the problem, but the fact that they had to at all shows how tone deaf most of the big studios truly are to concerns of racial discrimination.
That said, Kim is a great choice for the role, and assuming he takes the part, it should be a lot of fun seeing him interact with star David Harbour as Hellboy. Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, and Sasha Lane are also set to star in the Neil Marshall-directed feature, which is set to release in 2018.