Ed Skrein leaves “Hellboy” after casting controversy

Actor Ed Skrein on Aug. 25, 2015, in Los Angeles, Calif.

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Ed Skrein has bowed out of the “Hellboy” reboot after the backlash over his casting as an Asian-American character. In a statement, Skrein tweeted, “I must do what feels right.” 

The British actor was supposed to play Ben Daimio in “Rise of the Blood Queen,” the third film in the comic adaptation franchise previously helmed by Guillermo del Toro. Daimio’s Japanese-American heritage is a critical part of his backstory; his grandmother was a Japanese Imperial assassin in World War II. Skrein wrote that he was unaware that the character was Asian when he accepted the role. 

“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 Art,” he wrote in his statement. “I feel it is important to honor and respect that.” 

Skrein said he is stepping down so “the role can be cast appropriately.” He also said, “Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity.” The actor explained that he hopes one day the arts will be more inclusive, rendering such discussions less necessary. 

He said, “I am sad to leave Hellboy but if this discussion brings us closer to that day, it is worth it. I hope it makes a difference.” 

Skrein received praise from Asian-American actors, including John Cho, Riz Ahmed, Daniel Dae Kim, Keiko Agena of “Gilmore Girls” and Jessica Henwick of “Game of Thrones.” He also got a retweet from George Takei. 

Skrein was also praised by other esteemed artists of color in Hollywood, like Ava DuVernay and Lena Waithe.

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Source: CBS News – Entertainment

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