The Hellboy reboot is eyeing Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-0) for the role of Major Ben Daimio, after Ed Skrein left the project amid concerns of whitewashing. In 2004, director Guillermo del Toro debuted the first live-action adaptation of Hellboy, starring Ron Perlman as the titular hero, to critical praise and a successful enough box office run. The film was granted a sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which was much less well received, and put a halt to plans for a trilogy from del Toro and Perlman. Earlier this year, del Toro had a meeting to discuss whether fans of his take on Hellboy would get to see a third installment, but the director confirmed Hellboy 3 isn't happening. Instead, a Hellboy reboot is in the works from Lionsgate and Millennium with Stranger Things' David Harbour set to star.
Neil Marshall (Game of Thrones) will direct the new version of Hellboy, and the film has been filling out its cast in recent weeks. One such casting annoucement, that of Deadpool's Ed Skrein in the role of Ben Daimio, was met with an outcry among fans who were concerned that the project was whitewashing the character - who is Japanese-American in the comics - by casting an actor who is not Asian or Asian-American. Skrein decided to leave Hellboy after hearing these concerns and the studio released a statement assuring fans they would cast someone in line with the character.
Now, THR is reporting that Daniel Dae Kim, who recently left CBS' Hawaii Five-0, is in talks for the role of Ben Daimio. The character is a former U.S. Marine who joins The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense; he has the supernatural ability to turn into a jaguar when angry or in pain. Kim is Korean-American.
In addition to Kim and Harbour, Hellboy has cast American Gods' Ian McShane as Professor Broom, Resident Evil's Milla Jovovich as the villainous Blood Queen, American Honey's Sasha Lane, and Hemlock Grove's Penelope Mitchell. The movie is based on Mike Mignola's comic book series, and the artist/writer believes the Hellboy reboot could launch a shared universe - which likely won't come as surprise to those who have heard about the scrapped idea for an Abe Sapien spinoff movie from del Toro's films.
Should Kim officially sign on for Hellboy, Lionsgate will have fulfilled their promise to cast an Asian-American actor in the role of Ben Daimio - though Kim is Korean-American, rather than Japanese-American. It will mark an important step forward for Hollywood in terms of eradicating the practice of whitewashing. The industry has come under fire quite a bit in recent years for whitewashing in films like Ghost in the Shell, Doctor Strange, Gods of Egypt, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Aloha, and Pan.
As negotiations with Kim continue, Hellboy will keep filling out its cast, with the reboot said to start filming this fall. Hopefully, for fans of Hellboy, it won't be long before they'll get the chance to see the character on the big screen once again.