Ed Skrein out, Daniel Dae Kim in? That’s the latest development on Lionsgate’s Hellboy, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing that the latter is now circling the vacant role of military chief Major Ben Daimio.
Should a deal place, Kim, who is perhaps best known for his performance on CBS procedural Hawaii Five-O, would step into the shoes briefly occupied by Ed Skrein. In Mike Mignola’s original Hellboy comics, Daimio is portrayed as Japanese-American, a “rugged military member of the bureau for paranormal research and defense who, due to a supernatural encounter, can turn into a jaguar when angered or in pain.”
Skrein initially beat out the competition to land the role back in August, but stepped down in the face of protesting. Citing whitewashing concerns, the one-time Deadpool star formally bowed out of Neil Marshall’s R-rated (?) reboot late last month after releasing a candid statement on the whole ordeal.
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. I feel it is important to honour and respect that.
To their credit, Lionsgate concurred, stating:
It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material.
Unlike, say, Ghost in the Shell or The Great Wall or even Adam Wingard’s retelling of Death Note, Ed Skrein and Co. were quick to address those cries of whitewashing and, ultimately, course-correct Hellboy before it fell foul of controversy.
Elsewhere on the casting docket, Hellboy also has room in its ranks for Milla Jovovich (Nimue/Blood Queen), Ian McShane (Trevor Bruttenholm/Big Red’s adoptive father), Sasha Lane, and Penelope Mitchell, with Stranger Things breakout David Harbour assuming the title role as Mike Mignola’s cigar-chomping demon. When it comes to the potential addition of Kim, negotiations are said to be ongoing, and we’ll be bringing you all the latest as that saga unfolds.
Hellboy will be summoned before the cameras sometime this year ahead of a theatrical release in 2018.