Variety reports today that actor Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-O, Lost) is in talks to join the upcoming Hellboy reboot as Major Ben Daimio, a role vacated by actor Ed Skrein (The Transporter: Refueled, Deadpool) following online controversy over whitewashing. The character of Major Ben Daimio is Japanese American. Skrein is not Asian American, whereas Kim is Asian American (but not Japanese American).
Actor Ed Skrein — who had faced internet backlash last week or being cast to play a Japanese American character in the upcoming “Hellboy” reboot — announced earlier today that he had approached “Hellboy” producers with strong concerns, and that the actor had ultimately decided to withdraw from the project to make room for a Japanese American actor to fill the role.
In the latest round of Hollywood whitewashing of Asian or Asian American characters, British actor Ed Skrein (The Transporter Refueled, Deadpool) has been cast in an upcoming reboot of Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy series. Skrein will play Major Ben Daimio, a Japanese American member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense with the power to shapeshift into a were-jaguar when under physical or psychological duress.
Skrein is not Japanese.
Daimio’s Japanese American heritage has influenced the character’s history and storylines. According to Wikipedia, Daimio is the grandson of the Crimson Lotus (also known as, Yumiko Daimio), a Japanese spy active in New York City before and during World War II. When Ben Daimio’s relationship to the Crimson Lotus is revealed, his patriotism is questioned despite having been born in the United States, having been raised in a military family by his father, a war hero, and having served tours as a highly-decorated US Marine. Daimio’s body is possessed by a jaguar spirit when he is killed while on a mission in Bolivia, and he is brought back to life by it although his face still bears the scars of that mission.