Ed Skrein, whose acting credits include roles in Deadpool and Game of Thrones, has quit a role in the upcoming Hellboy reboot after the film was accused of "whitewashing" by fans of the original comic book.
Skrein was due to play Major Ben Daimio in the movie. Daimio is an Asian character in the original comics who returned from the dead under mysterious circumstances. Some fans were critical of the casting decision, announced on August 21, following similar casting in movies such as Ghost In The Shell and Marvel's Doctor Strange.
On Monday, August 28, Skrein released a statement explaining that he was "unaware" of the character's origins and that he would do "what is right" by exiting the part.
“I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage,” Skrein wrote. “There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement and I must do what I feel is right.”
Hellboy producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin backed Skrein's decision while making a non-committal statement about the future casting of the role. “Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision," they 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 original Hellboy movie was directed by Guillermo del Toro and was released in 2004. The new cast includes Stranger Things actor David Harbour, Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich with The Descent's Neil Marshall on board to direct