One of Hollywood’s most recent examples of whitewashing has apparently been set right, with The Hollywood Reporter reporting that Daniel Dae Kim is in talks to appear in the upcoming Hellboy reboot, taking over the role vacated by Ed Skrein, who left the project after public outcry that the Caucasian actor had been cast as an Asian character.
According to THR, Kim will play Major Ben Daimio, described as “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.”
In the comic books upon which the Hellboy films are based, the character is Japanese-American, which led to social media protest when Skrein was cast in August (Kim, who previously starred on Lost, is actually of Korean descent).
“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,” Skrein said in a statement when he decided to leave the project. “I feel it is important to honour and respect that.”
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
The studio behind the upcoming Hellboy reboot, Lionsgate, backed up Skrein in a statement of its own: “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.”
Kim, who recently left Hawaii Five-O over a salary dispute — reportedly because he and fellow Asian cast member Grace Park (who also left the show) demanded salary parity with the show’s white stars — seems like a solid choice, but how did the Twitterverse see it?
Judging by the overwhelmingly positive flurry of tweets that greeted the news, Lionsgate clearly made the right choice — although some feel that casting a Korean-American as a Japanese-American is just as bad:
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 11, 2017
— Heroic Hollywood (@heroichollywood) September 11, 2017
Daniel Dae Kim has been a big advocate for Asian American representing on film and TV. https://t.co/GBDSIJRFGp
— Rebecca Ford (@Beccamford) September 11, 2017
Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio in the new Hellby movie is perfect casting. He should have been their pick in the first place but great choice.
— Dave Scheidt (@DaveScheidt) September 11, 2017
Daniel Dae Kim as Captain Daimio? niiiiiiiiiiiiice https://t.co/bvEODzdt9M
— Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) September 11, 2017
— Lacy Wright (@LacyLewWright) September 11, 2017
…now how hard was that?! seriously.
— Dee Jackson 🏳️🌈 (@DeeIbdulJackson) September 11, 2017
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) September 11, 2017
— Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru) September 11, 2017
— Connor Behrens (@ConnorFilm) September 11, 2017
Korean-American playing a Japanese-American?
Is that still not bad?
— Adam Quane (@ATQ1993) September 11, 2017
That's more like it. Also, Daniel Dae Kim should be in everything, imo. https://t.co/3g7ggKq8UU
— Nicole Chung (@nicole_soojung) September 11, 2017