The Hellboy reboot is the latest comic book movie to get snared in racial controversy. Fans (particularly in the Asian-American community) are in uproar due to the casting of Deadpool and Game of Thrones actor Ed Skrein, who is playing the comic book character of Ben Daimio, who is Japanese-American.
Deadline breaks down the situation, which saw Skrein post his excitement for the role on social media - only to find himself weathering a storm of angry responses.
After all the angry responses started, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola showed support for Skrein by tweeting:
Thanks and happy you've signed on... see you soon— Mike Mignola (@artofmmignola) August 21, 2017
Oddly enough, one of the loudest angry voices was Punisher: War Zone director Lexi Alexander, who tweeted:
The producer and director should definitely be harassed about this. But actors need to start taking responsibility for their choices— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) August 22, 2017
Controversy over race-changes to popular geek culture characters has been a mounting trend in Hollywood. Whether it's casting traditionally white characters with actors of color or vice versa, the change usually sparks intense debate amongst fans and creators, alike.
In this case, the character of Ben Daimio has important cultural elements attached to his character, as his grandmother was an Imperial assassin for Japan during WWII. Like with the Hollywood adaptations of both Ghost In Shell and Death Note this year, it's being argued that characters with such strong cultural ties should be played by some of the many fine actors in the industry who are actually Asian.
The Hellboy is ramping up in its pre-production. The reboot will have an R-rating, and will be much darker than the version of Guillermo del Toro put out.
Hellboy has cast Stranger Things star David Harbour as the titular character, with Milla Jovovich playing the evil Blood Queen, Ian McShane as Hellboy's "father" Professor Broom, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan, and Ed Skrein as Major Ben Daimio.
The Descent and Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall is directing, and the script by Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Andrew Cosby will borrow heavily from “The Wild Hunt” storyline in the comic books. It will not be an origin story.0comments
The film was originally going to connected to the del Toro series - but that's no longer the case. It also once had the subtitle "Rise of the Blood Queen," but for now it's simply going by the title Hellboy.
The Hellboy reboot is slated to hit theaters sometime in 2018.