Deadpool star Ed Skrein has pulled out of next year’s Hellboy reboot after discovering that his character was of mixed Asian heritage in the original comics.
The British actor shared an open letter on Twitter explaining his decision to quit the film, explaining his decision was influenced by a “worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the arts”.
“I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately,” Skrein wrote. “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.”
“I am sad to leave Hellboy, but if this decision brings us closer to that day, it is worth it,” he added.
Read his full statement below.
Skrein’s decision comes after months of heated discussion surrounding the issue of “whitewashing” in Hollywood, after a number of high-profile productions cast white actors in roles originally conceived for Asian actors. Previous films which have faced the backlash include manga adaptation Ghost in the Shell, which starred Scarlett Johansson in the lead role, and the Matt Damon-led The Great Wall, a fantasy epic set in China’s mythical past.
Support for his move has poured in on Twitter – including a personal thank you from the creator of the original Hellboy comics Mike Mignola.
Major props to @edskrein for making the hard choice as a younger actor but the right one in stepping down from the Hellboy reboot. Class.— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) August 28, 2017
I don't ever want to hear that a White actor/actress can't step away from a Whitewashed role. Ed Skrein just showed y'all how.— Rebecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) August 28, 2017
I wanna work with @edskrein.— John Cho (@JohnTheCho) August 29, 2017