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Oh, **** no! In another diversity-derangement departure from a movie’s source material, the badly rebooted and needlessly vulgar “Hellboy” miscasts dreadlocked African-American/Maori actress Sasha Lane as the hero’s girlfriend Alice Monaghan, who was a fair and freckled Irish redhead in the comics.
While that kind of political-correctness pandering would be offensive simply on a #FictionalCharacterLivesMatter basis, what makes it even more insulting here is that Alice is not a mere interchangeable background extra within the Hellboy canon. In what many fans regard as Hellboy creator Mike Mignola’s single best story in the character’s 25-year comics history (“The Corpse”), Irish Alice was abducted as a baby in Ireland by fairies who replaced her with a changeling. In Hellboy’s efforts to rescue her from the local “little folk,” he encounters a fairy king from Irish mythology. When Hellboy meets Alice again as an adult in a later story, she reveals that she has had many more encounters with the region’s fairies while growing up. She eventually is chosen by the Irish fairy queen to take her crown and be caretaker of the refuge where fairies have fled to escape our world.
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In other words, the movie’s indefensible decision to change Alice’s regional and ethnic heritage makes about as much sense as if a white actor were cast to star in Marvel’s “Black Panther.” Sure, the filmmakers could use the tortured excuse that T’Challa’s Wakandan family tree included immigrant and mixed marriage branches, but the switch still would look ridiculous.
What makes Alice’s race change even more awkward is that white actor Ed Skrein made news last year by withdrawing from the role of Major Ben Daimio in “Hellboy,” after the production was accused of “whitewashing” that Japanese-American comics character. A statement from the producers and studios involved said, “It was not our intent to be...
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