Last month, actor Ed Skrien stepped away from his role in the Hellboy reboot after a whitewashing controversy caused fans and members of the entertainment industry to point out, once again, that a white actor was cast in a role originally written as Asian.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter notes that Daniel Dae Kim is in talks to replace Skrein, who was applauded for leaving the role of Major Ben Daimio, showing that diversity and representation are more important than taking home a superhero-caliber paycheck.
In the Hellboy comics, Daimio is depicted as half-Japanese. Kim is Korean-American, which, while not 100% accurate, is certainly much closer to the character. For anyone wondering, Daimio is a part of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and, thanks to a run-in with some otherworldly circumstances, he can turn into a jaguar when he's angry.
When he decided to leave the Hellboy project, Skrein said that taking the role of Daimio would "continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts."
Kim is also an outspoken advocate for representation. Back in July, he left his longstanding role on CBS' Hawaii 5-0 after he and his costar, Grace Park, couldn't reach a deal with the network to receive the same pay as the other cast members on the show.
"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 in a Facebook post.
After social media called out the Hellboy reboot for casting Skrein, Lionsgate said that it would work to rectify its decision and look for a more appropriate actor for the role.
“It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity," the company wrote after Skein's departure. "We will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material."
Casting Kim would be a huge step towards keeping things in line with Mike Mignola's original comic, but nothing's set just yet.
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