Every few months, it seems, there’s a new story about film industry idiots casting a white actor in a role that is written (and often, has previously been played by) an actor of color. Asian actors are on the business end of “white-washing” with a particularly alarming frequency as of late, between Ghost In the Shell, Doctor Strange, and the recent Death Note – so it’s rather lovely to see those conversations having an actual impact on a forthcoming project.
Said project is Neil Marshall’s forthcoming reboot of the comic book franchise Hellboy, which last week announced the casting of Ed Skrein as Major Ben Daimio. Mr. Skrein, whose previous credits include Deadpool, Game of Thrones, and The Transporter Refueled, is a white Brit. The character of Major Daimio is written in Mike Mignola’s comic books as Asian. Yesterday, Skrein announced via Twitter that he is dropping out of the project:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hellboy’s producers and distributors support Skrein’s decision, releasing this statement: “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.”
I’m sure this is a fleeting thing and tomorrow someone will cast Jennifer Lawrence in a Chien-Shiung Wu biopic or something, but let’s enjoy this moment of wisdom and sensitivity while we can, eh?