‘Hellboy’ Producers Issue Statement Saying They Will Commit to Cast An Asian Actor as Ben Daimio

When actor Ed Skrein was announced to play Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy reboot, there was a wave of criticism in whitewashing the character, who is depicted in comic books as Japanese American.

Today, Skrein issued a statement saying that he will be stepping down from the role in order to make room for an Asian actor for the role.

After Skrein’s statement, Hellboy producers Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon made a joint statement with Lionsgate and Millennium, stating that they are committed the casting of Daimio right.

“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this,” the statement to Deadline reads “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.”

What do you think about the producers’ response to Skrein stepping down from the role of Ben Daimio? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Comicbook.com

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7 comments

  1. I’m impressed with Ed Skrein for his decision and how he handled things, but I’m a little less impressed with the producers here.

    I’ll take it on good faith that Skrein is being sincere when he says he wasn’t aware; it sounds like he might have been offered the role without being familiar with the source material. The producers, though, don’t have that excuse. It never should have gotten this far, and their apology rings false to me…how could they not KNOW that casting a white actor as a character of Japanese decent would be hurtful and offensive? That’s pretty basic human empathy.

    I’m glad they’re committing to casting as asian actor, but they shouldn’t have had to be TOLD to cast an asian actor.

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    1. I see what you’re saying here and you”re absolutely right, but you have to give them props for hearing the problem and adjusting. This isn’t unprecedented, but it is a class move on the behalf of everyone involved to hear the audience’s concerns and actually adjust the direction.

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      1. Sorry Gladhandling Benny, I don’t think we should “give [the producers] props”. They don’t get a pat on the back or a cookie for doing the right thing AFTER Skrein made the correct decision. In their own statement they admit to no longer whitewashing this character once Skrein brought it to their attention (i.e. called them out in public). I didn’t read their whole statement, but they don’t even apologize for their error (to put it mildly). All they say (as lots of people do when they hurt someone) is “It was not our intent” … when I screwed up as a kid, it didn’t matter that “I didn’t mean to” or “it was an accident”, my Mom made me take responsibility, apologize and I changed my behavior to never let it happen again.

        Yes, they’re “hearing the problem and adjusting”, but that is doing the bare minimum. The producers of Iron Fist, Dr. Strange, Ghost in the Shell etc. (presumably) heard the problem and DIDN’T adjust, which made them “terrible”. In this case, by adjusting, the producers can be considered “not terrible”, which is different than “good”. As Derek put it, the best thing the producers could have done is not ever let it get this far (casting a white person to play an Asian character). We should expect producers to have “basic human empathy” at all times … that should not be a high bar.

        Derek has it correct. Skrein comes out of this looking great, especially when you consider the economics. He is not a major star (Wiki says he has 3 episodes in GoT & as Deadpool villain); he probably could have used the money, exposure, experience etc. with a big project like Hellboy. Skrein makes the moral choice at his own expense; the definition of a Good person/decision. I think Skrein exemplifies the actions of a “white ally” in this case. (But I’ll leave that call to the experts). In an ideal world, Skrein would never have never had to make this decision; the producers should have sought an Asian American actor from the beginning (see Derek & above paragraph).

        TL;DR The producers did a terrible thing; got a 2nd chance and are now doing the right thing. They don’t deserve a pat on the back for that. Most importantly, Skrein comes off as a Good person; he sacrificed his own interests to do the right thing.

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