It seems Lionsgate is attempting to recover from Hellboy’s whitewashing controversy.
According to a Hollywood Reporter exclusive, Daniel Dae Kim is in talks to replace Ed Skrein in the upcoming reboot. Skrein, a 34-year-old English actor, decided to give up his role as Major Ben Daimio after he discovered the character is half-Japanese in the Hellboy comics. Many people blasted the casting as another example of Hollywood hiring white actors to take on roles originally portrayed by racial minorities.
"I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage. There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right," Skrein wrote in a statement. "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 Arts."
Kim, a Korean-American, made headlines this year after he and Grace Park left Hawaii Five-0 following a salary dispute. Variety reported the actors were seeking equal pay to their white co-stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, but were presented a final offer that was 10-15 percent lower.
"I will not be returning to Hawaii Five-0 when production starts next week. Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue," Kim wrote on Facebook back in July. "As an Asian American actor, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find opportunities at all, let alone play a well developed, three dimensional character like Chin Ho. I will miss him sincerely […] I’ll end by saying that though transitions can be difficult, I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture. The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future."
Hellboy is expected to hit theaters in 2018, and will star David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, and Sasha Lane. Neil Marshall will direct.