After being originally cast in the film, actor Ed Skrein has parted way with Legendary and Millennium's planned Hellboy reboot, following an outcry of whitewashing criticisms from fans. The film - which will be completely abandoning the casts and direction of Guillermo del Toro's original two Hellboy outings - will feature Stranger Things breakout star David Harbour in the lead role, with The Descent and Game of Thrones director, Neil Marshall, signed on at the helm. In the months since the reboot's original announcement earlier this summer, Marshall and the rest of the film's creative team have been gradually filling out the film's cast of characters.
Skrein was one of the more recent additions to the Hellboy reboot when he was cast as Major Ben Daimio in the blockbuster film last week. However, despite Skrein's proven talents as an actor on the big screen, the casting was met with an understandable amount of criticism from fans, who were quick to point out that Daimio is an Asian character in the comics. Many were then quick to add Skrein's Hellboy casting to the growing cases of Hollywood whitewashing roles in their films - leading to an unexpected development.
Skrein, who is a veteran of the comic book genre following his villainous turn in 2016's Deadpool, announced on Twitter that he will be leaving the project as a result of the whitewashing issue being brought to his attention throughout the past week. You can read his full Twitter statement for yourself down below:
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
Skrein's response to the whitewashing controversy is almost unheard of in the entertainment industry, with caucasian actors and actresses taking on originally non-white roles in films and television all the time, while very rarely responding to the whitewashing backlash in this kind of way. Following Skrein's statement this afternoon, Lionsgate released a follow-up statement about the actor's departure from the project:
"Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision. 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."
While whitewashing has always been an issue in the entertainment industry, the issue has become a much larger point of conversation in recent years. This has come not only as a result of people becoming more aware of its severity but as more projects like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note are accused of whitewashing or Americanizing originally International properties. Fortunately, it looks like Skrein's awareness means that will not be the case with this Hellboy reboot (for now, at least), which has been accruing a very exciting cast for itself in recent weeks, with the additions of Ian McShane as Professor Broom, Mia Jovovich as the villainous Blood Queen, and more. Filming on Hellboy is set to begin this Fall and as such, likely means the rest of the film's ensemble will fill out completely throughout the next couple of weeks.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on Hellboy as more information becomes available.
Source: Ed Skrein