Hollywood doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to whitewashing. But a small bit of good news on this front was reported by The Hollywood Reporter today. Ed Skrein, famous for his role as Ajax in Deadpool, has announced that he is leaving Lionsgate and Millenium’s reboot of the Hellboy franchise.
Skrein was cast as Major Ben Daimio, a character written and depicted in the source comics as Japanese-American. After the recent controversies of Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange, there was immediate uproar online when Skrein’s casting was announced last week. Following the outcry, Skrein announced on Twitter that he would be leaving the project, stating “Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family.”
The producers of the film have released a joint statement with Millenium and Lionsgate, saying “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.”
The film, scheduled for a 2018 release, will star Stranger Things star David Harbour as the titular Hellboy, a demon summoned by Nazis as a baby but raised by the U.S Government to be a paranormal investigator. Ian McShane (American Gods, Deadwood) is penciled in to play Hellboy’s adoptive father Doctor Butterholm while Mila Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil series) will play the primary antagonist, Nimue the Blood Queen. Neil Marshall (The Descent, Game of Thrones) has been attached to direct.