Actor Ed Skrein has rightfully received widespread praise for deciding to leave the Hellboy reboot after learning of the whitewashing of his character Benjamin Daimio, who’s depicted in the comic book source material as Japanese-American. It’s a bold statement — one that needs to be taken by more actors — that should be applauded for what it is: a professional sacrifice that further raises the awareness that persons of color should be represented in Hollywood, particularly when casing roles that are theirs to being with.
Skrein’s departure came just a week after he joined Neil Marshall’s adaptation of Hellboy, apparently unaware of the character’s ethnicity. Upon learning more about Daimio and the ensuing controversy, he walked away from the project because he doesn’t believe it’s right for him to portray the character. The fact that someone who isn’t yet an A-list actor would be so vocal and take action regarding such a critical issue speaks volumes about him. It also shines a bright spotlight on what’s transpiring in Hollywood, and what needs to be drastically fixed.
“I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage,” Skrein’s statement read, in part. “There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right.”
The fact that he was simply willing to not only listen to the conversation but also take the next step and resign from the film deserves to be commended, because it’s clear the other stakeholders weren’t interested in doing the same. “It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality,” Skrein’s statement continued. “I am sad to leave Hellboy but if this decision brings us closer to that day, it is worth it. I hope it makes a difference.”
Make no mistake, Skrein is making a massive difference.
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