‘Hellboy’ Reboot Accused Of ‘Whitewashing’ For Casting Ed Skrein In Asian-American Role
The Hellboy franchise is being rebooted, is being accused of whitewashing its cast.
HELLBOY CASTS ED SKREIN, ACCUSED OF WHITEWASHING
In the Hellboy comics by Mike Mignola, there is a character named Ben Daimio, who is Japanese-American. For the reboot, called Rise of the Blood Queen, British actor Ed Skrein has been cast as Daimio. The character’s background is important to his story, as his grandmother was a Japanese Imperial assassin in World War II, and by casting a white man instead of an actor with Japanese roots, the character loses dynamism.
Many are calling out the franchise for whitewashing the role. “I guess they want this to fail,” said actress Cindy Chu in response. Previous examples of whitewashing have included Emma Stone‘s portrayal of a half-Hawaiian, half-Chinese Air Force pilot in Cameron Crowe‘s Aloha and Scarlett Johansson as the cyborg protagonist in the Japanese anime remake, Ghost in the Shell.
“With every instance of whitewashing,” William Yu, a digital strategist who inspired the hashtag #StarringJohnCho, posted in response to the Skrein casting, “an (Asian-American) is subliminally told that they are not worth attention, not worth a place in this society.” #StarringJohnCho was a parody campaign of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, in which he replaced the leading man’s face with John Cho‘s.
“Hey Hollywood, how many box office flops does it take for you to learn how to cast properly? #hellboy #whitewashedout,” said Asian actor Simu Liu, while Stephanie Sheh, an actress who does voiceover work in anime, said “Here we go again. Why Hollywood do you keep forcing me to boycott your films. #whitewash #hellboy.”
“Excited to join the #Hellboy cast as Ben Daimio. All praise due to the creator @artofmmignola ?? #BPRD,” wrote Skrein for his part. Mignola chimed in, but only to say, “Thanks and happy you’ve signed on.”
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 21, 2017