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The whitewashing of Asian characters is still a major problem in Hollywood: Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, and Emma Stone in Aloha are some of the most recent examples. Yet when the Hellboy reboot threatened to follow the same route in casting English actor Ed Skrein as Major Benjamin Daimio, a character of Japanese-American descent in the comics, another casting controversy transformed into an example for the industry.
“The public conversation was the same conversation we had,” Lloyd Levin, a longtime producer on the Hellboy films, said on the reboot’s Bulgarian set. “We felt we made a mistake. We lost track.”
Skrein - Move - August - Departure - Daimio
Skrein made a bold move when, in August 2017, he announced his departure from the Daimio role so it could be “cast appropriately.”
“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 voice in the Arts,” the actor said in a statement at the time. “I feel it is important to honour and respect that.”
Skrein - Departure - Team - Hawaii - Five-0
Soon after Skrein’s departure, the team cast Hawaii Five-0’s Daniel Dae Kim as the new Daimio.
“I’d heard about the controversy even before I knew I was gonna be a part of this project,” the actor said in between takes on set. “This casting came as the last one in a long line of examples of the exact same issue. So when I heard what the producers did and what in particular Ed Skrein [did], I was really deeply moved and very impressed.”
Levin - Course-correction
Levin offered more context behind the course-correction.
“When we started talking about this and we started talking about Daimio, it was years ago and we had already established a story where Daimio was… You know, the story...
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