Former Lost star Daniel Dae Kim is in talks to take on the role of Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy reboot, replacing Ed Skrein, who pulled out of the film after producers were criticised for perceived “whitewashing”.
Kim, who recently left cop drama Hawaii 5-0, is set to play a soldier who can turn into a jaguar when angered or in pain according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the original comics, the character is of Asian descent.
In August, the announcement that Ed Skrein was to star as Daimo was met with widespread outcry online, with critics complaining that it was another instance of Hollywood filling roles intended for Asian actors with white actors – after recent high-profile controversies such as Scarlett Johansson’s appearance in manga adaptation Ghost in the Shell, and Matt Damon’s turn in The Great Wall.
Reacting to the criticism, Skrein pulled out of the film, saying, “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.
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
The decision was widely praised, with some suggesting that it could be the tipping point that will prevent the recurrence of the problem.