(CBS SF) — On Monday, British actor Ed Skrein announced he was stepping aside from a role in the upcoming “Hellboy” reboot after the filmmakers were accused of whitewashing.
Skrein was to play, Major Benjamin Daimio, a Japanese-American character in the Hellboy comic book series, to be brought to life on the big screen in a reimagining of the popular series. Critics said his casting was the latest example of Hollywood replacing an Asian or Asian-American role and giving it to a white actor or actress.
In realizing the character was meant to be a different ethnicity, Skrein dropped out of the role and made a statement on Twitter about his decision. “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 voices in the arts,” Skrein also wrote. “I feel it is important to honor and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately.”
Previous incidents of Hollywood’s casting shortcomings include Emma Stone’s role as a half-Hawaiian, half-Chinese Air Force pilot in “Aloha” and with Scarlett Johansson’s casting in the Japanese anime remake “Ghost in the Shell.” The Netflix film “Death Note” also drew critism last week when the Japanese storyline had no Asian actors and the setting was moved from Japan to Seattle.
“Hellboy” filmmakers said they supported Skrein’s “unselfish decision” for stepping down from the role stating that it was not their intent to be “insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity,” and that they plan to recast the role with an actor “more consistent with the character in the source material.”
Skrein is best known for his roles in The Transporter Refueled, Game of Thrones and in Deadpool.
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