Just two weeks after Ed Skrein dropped out of playing Major Ben Daimio, a Japanese American character, in Hellboy’s reboot, Variety reported that the studio is in talks to cast Daniel Dae Kim in the role.
Kim decided to leave CBS’ Hawaii Five-O in June when the network refused to offer him and his costar, both of Asian descent, the same salary as their white male costars. He’s a comic book adaption regular, having played minor characters in Spiderman 2 and Hulk. In announcing his decision to depart Hawaii Five-O after seven seasons, Kim reflected on how difficult it was for Asian American actors to “find opportunities” playing well-developed characters.
Skrein’s casting renewed criticism of widespread whitewashing in Hollywood, prompting the actor to pull out of Hellboy — an almost inconceivable move for a white actor set to star in a major studio film. Skrein said he was unaware of the character’s Asian heritage and that accepting the role would “continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts” in a statement on his exit.
Asian Americans are wildly underrepresented in Hollywood and they are inconsistently cast in roles that are based on characters with Asian heritage. Scarlett Johansson’s casting in the remake of Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese comic, is another recent example of Hollywood’s whitewashing, but the tendency is systemic and habitual. Remember Aloha? And who could forget the downright offensive casting of Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
If confirmed, Kim will join David Harbour, who is set to play Hellboy, and Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall, who is leading the project. Seriously though, how could they not cast this guy?