English actor Ed Skrein took to Twitter to inform followers and fans of his decision to step down from the upcoming “Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen” movie to make space for a more culturally appropriate actor to be cast.
News that Skrein had been cast into Neil Marshall’s “Hellboy” reboot surfaced last week. The actor was set to play Ben Daimio, who is Japanese American in the original comics. His casting was met with online backlash from the Asian American community and others who accused the film of whitewashing.
Skrein listened to fans’ concerns and released a statement via Twitter to announce his departure from the project. According to Skrein’s statement, the actor was unaware of Ben Daimio’s Japanese American heritage in the comics, but after learning the truth, he felt an artistic responsibility to walk away from the role.
“It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts,” Skrein said in his statement.
Although Skrein said he was sad to leave “Hellboy,” he hoped that his decision would help make “equal representation in the arts a reality.” His Tweet currently has over 28,000 likes and over 1,000 replies, mostly from users expressing respect for Skrein’s decision.
“Hellboy” producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin spoke to Deadline, saying:
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.
See Ed Skrein’s full statement and online reactions below:
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
I don’t ever want to hear that a White actor/actress can’t step away from a Whitewashed role. Ed Skrein just showed y’all how.
— ReBecca Theodore (@FilmFatale_NYC) August 28, 2017
Hey internet. Thank you for your voices.
An injustice was done and will be corrected.
— David Harbour (@DavidKHarbour) August 28, 2017
I admit I’m not familiar w/ your work, but I will keep track now & make sure to support your roles in the future. Thank you for your stance.
— SUZANNE (@425suzanne) August 28, 2017
Fair play to @edskrein I hope karma steps in and gives him a huge role sometime soon ✌🏻
— kerry purcell❄️ (@kerryjveitch) August 28, 2017