Actor Withdraws from ‘Hellboy’ Film After Outcry Over Whitewashing

Ed Skrein and Ben Daimio

The controversy over “whitewashing” in Lionsgate’s reboot of the “Hellboy” franchise took an unexpected term when British actor Ed Skrein, who had been cast as Major Ben Daimio in “Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen,” withdrew from the project.

Whitewashing refers to white actors playing characters originally conceived as Asian. In this case, Daimio, an employee of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, was a Japanese American ex-Marine in the “Hellboy” comic book series. Complaints have been raised by Media Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) and other organizations with regard to other comic book adaptations, including “Ghost in the Shell,” which starred Scarlett Johansson.

MANAA Preisdent Robert Chan told The Los Angeles Daily News last week, “It’s frustrating. I think the casting in ‘Hellboy’ is more of the same. You’re taking an Asian character and casting a non-Asian into the role.”