Ed Skrein is stepping down from his Hellboy reboot role following the ongoing Hollywood whitewashing criticism. The British actor was set to play Major Ben Daimio, who is Japanese-American in the comic books.
“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. I feel it is important to honour and respect that," Skrein said in a statement. He added that the role should be cast appropriately and that "It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity."
Producers Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Millennium and Lionsgate also released a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter: 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."
Major movie studios casting white actors for roles meant for people of color has been a frustrating issue for decades and has caught bigger heat recently with films like the Scarlett Johannson-starring Ghost in the Shell and Marvel's Iron Fist Netflix series. Skrein's decision to leave the project is a rare but much-needed move that will hopefully push other actors to reconsider certain roles before committing to them. Read Skrein's statement in full below.
I don't ever want to hear that a White actor/actress can't step away from a Whitewashed role. Ed Skrein just showed y'all how.— ReBecca Theodore (@FilmFatale_NYC) August 28, 2017
@edskrein YOU are something else my friend! so proud of you. Seriously, one of the best people I've met in the industry. The real deal— Eiza Gonzalez Reyna (@eizamusica) August 28, 2017
The Hellboy reboot will star Stranger Things' David Harbour as the titular character with eil Marshall (Game of Thrones, The Descent) set to direct. The original Hellboy premiered in 2004 with the sequel following in 2008. Below, watch The Flash star Keiynan Lonsdale (who is the first black Kid Flash) reveal what's next for Wally West: