(LOS ANGELES) — An actor cast in the upcoming Hellboy reboot has dropped out of the film’s production amid concerns of whitewashing.
For the film, Deadpool baddie Ed Skrein had been cast as fictional character Major Ben Daimio — who, in the comic book, is Japanese-American.
Skrein said in a statement Monday that when he accepted the part, he was unaware of Daimio’s heritage. After bearing witness to, “intense conversation and understandable upset,” he said in a statement, he decided “to step down so the role can be cast appropriately.”
“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 honor and respect that,” he stated.
“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,” he added.
Although the comic’s creator, Mike Mignola, had initially backed Skrein’s casting, the reboot’s producers, Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Lionsgate and Millennium said in a joint statement that they will recast Skrein’s part with his concerns in mind.
“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision,” they stated. “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.”
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