×

Ed Skrein Drops Out of ‘Hellboy’ Reboot After Whitewashing Controversy

Ed Skrein has exited the “Hellboy” reboot following public outcry. His casting as Major Ben Daimio — an Asian character in the “Hellboy” graphic novels — reignited conversations about whitewashing that have long plagued Hollywood.

The “Deadpool” actor released a statement Monday on his social media accounts explaining why he dropped out of the project.

“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. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately,” the actor said. “Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality.”

Skrein’s casting follows similar recent controversies in which white actors have been set for roles originally portrayed by people of Asian descent. Scarlett Johansson’s casting as a Japanese human-cyborg in “Ghost in the Shell” caused an uproar earlier this year, as did Tilda Swinton’s role as the Ancient One in “Doctor Strange” — a character depicted as an Asian male in the comic source material.

“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision,” Lionsgate, the studio behind the reboot, said in a statement. “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 creator of the “Hellboy” comic book, Mike Mignola, thanked Skrein on Twitter. “Very nicely done,” he added.

The studio will now focus on re-casting the role of the former U.S. Marine. The film begins shooting this October and sources say Skrein’s departure won’t affect the start date.

David Harbour is playing the titular character in “Hellboy.” Neil Marshall is directing the movie, which also stars Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich.

More Film

  • Sean AstinCritics' Choice Awards, Arrivals, Los

    Film News Roundup: Sean Astin Cast in 'Mayfields Game,' 'Charming the Hearts of Men'

    In today’s film news roundup, Sean Astin gets two roles, two “Peanuts” movies are set for release, “One Last Night” gets distribution and Brian De Palma gets honored. CASTINGS Sean Astin has been cast in a pair of upcoming feature films: “Mayfield’s Game” opposite Mira Sorvino and “Charming The Hearts of Men” opposite Kelsey Grammer. Astin [...]

  • Dwayne Johnson Idris Elba

    Dwayne Johnson: Idris Elba Nixed 'Black James Bond' Joke in 'Hobbs & Shaw'

    In the “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw,” the movie’s villain Brixton, played by Idris Elba, spreads his arms out wide and declares “I’m black Superman.” It turns out that might not have been the original line. Dwayne Johnson tells Variety that Elba was first asked to proclaim he’s “black James Bond,” but the [...]

  • Justin Baldoni

    Justin Baldoni Developing 'It Ends With Us' Romance Movie

    “Jane the Virgin” Star Justin Baldoni is adapting Colleen Hoover’s romance novel “It Ends With Us” for film through his Wayfarer Entertainment company. Baldoni announced Monday that he had optioned the project on his Instagram account. “It Ends With Us” first published in 2016 and follows a young woman through the tumultuous stages of an [...]

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content