Ed Skrein quits Hellboy reboot

Actor says role should go to an Asian actor

by Jennie Kermode

Actor Ed Skrein has announced that he's leaving the cast of Neil Marshall's Hellboy reboot because he feels that his character, Major Ben Daimio, should be played by an actor of Asian heritage.

Ed Skrein
Ed Skrein Photo: Gage Skidmore

"I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage," he said. "There has been intense conversation and understandable upset sinmce that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right."

Skrein's decision comes in the wake of controversy over Scarlett Johansson's casting in Ghost In The Shell, which was mitigated somewhat when the original series creators said they were happy with the decision, but which highlighted a tendency for Hollywood to whitewash stories with Asian characters, also seen in recent years with the casting of Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange and Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness.

A study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism showed that, in 2015, not one of the top-grossing 100 films had an Asian lead, and 49% had no Asian characters at all. Actors are concerned that Asian men tend to be stereotyped into geek role in Hollywood films, whilst Asian women are stereotyped as submissive and are often cast as sex workers.

Major Daimio is the only major Hellboy character traditionally represened as Asian. David Harbour has the title role in the new film, which is also set to star Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane.

"It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people," said Skrein of Major Daimio. "To neglect this responsibility would contrinue 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.

"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 we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality.

"I am sad to leave Hellboy but if this decision brings us closer to that day, it is worth it. I hope it makes a difference."

Skrein recent appeared in Deadpool and is currently filming on Born A King.

Share this with others on...
News

Sense memories Robert Tinnell on Feast Of The Seven Fishes and family memories

Keeping his word Michael Apted in conversation on 63 Up

Talking about juxtapositions Thom Powers on dreams, fashion, identity, nature and bright spotlights in DOC NYC

Dedicated to DA Pennebaker Thom Powers on Martin Scorsese, Michael Apted, the Masters and Winner’s Circle in the tenth edition

EIFF goes coastal Free Film Fest on the Forth announced

DOC NYC award winners announced Viewfinders, Metropolis, Shorts and Short List results

More news and features

We're bring you coverage of the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC and the French Film Festival.



We're looking forward to Tallinn Black Nights and Welsh horror festival Abertoir.



We've recently been at the Valencia Film Festival, New York's NewFest, the Cambridge Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, Manchester's Grimmfest, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival and the San Sebastian Film Festival.



Read our full for more.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

More competitions coming soon.