Hellboy reboot actor Ed Skrein back outs of film: 'Representation of ethnic diversity is important'
British actor Ed Skrein who was the most recent addition to the cast of the Hellboy reboot, has officially backed out of the film after receiving backlash over what was being called yet another blatant example of Hollywood's 'whitewashing' of a non-white character.
The actor was all set to play the military man Major Ben Daimio — a character of Asian heritage — however Skrein claims that he did not know the race of the character when he accepted the part.
The actor took to Twitter to share the news in a heartfelt post, and his announcement seemed to be well received by Twitterati.
"It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the arts," said Skrein in a post that was shared on to his Twitter profile.
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
Skrein reportedly comes from a mixed heritage family himself and claims that "representation of ethnic diversity is important" — especially to him.
Over the past year, there have been several other instances where conversations over 'whitewashing' in Hollywood have come into the spotlight, especially after Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell cast white actors as characters of Asian origin. This is the first time that an actor has quit a high-profile commercial film after receiving widespread criticism from the public, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Directed by Neil Marshall, the film (newly titled Hellboy) stars David Harbour — famous for his Stranger Things character — in the titular role. Joining him will be actor Ian McShane who is all set to play the character of Professor Broom. Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich has also been roped in to play the devilish character of the Blood Queen.
Hellboy is produced by Lloyd Levi, Mike Richardson and Larry Gordon, backed by the companies Liongate and Millennium Films. Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell are also co-producers through Campbell Grobman Films.