CBMB: Ed Skrein Passes on Hellboy Role After Whitewashing Backlash | FanboysInc

CBMB: Ed Skrein Passes on Hellboy Role After Whitewashing Backlash

By Muuka Muyumba

Deadpool star Ed Skrein has announced that he will pass on a recent casting in the upcoming Hellboy reboot subsequent to a major white-washing casting backlash. Skrein issued an impressive statement directly addressing the controversy when he could have easily slid out of the role for the typical ‘scheduling conflict’ excuses.

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As far as I can recall, this is the first time an actor has dropped out of the role due to this whitewashing issue, addressed the issue, and hs pushed for change. Recently Scarlett Johannsen came under significant scrutiny for taking the lead role in Ghost in the Shell as Major was seen as an Asian character based on the source material though the character is an avatar. Johannsen did not turn down the role despite the controversy, explained the reason why she chose to stay, and the movie suffered from the controversy opening to a measly $168 million worldwide ($41 million domestic) on a $110 million budget.


The Hellboy reboot is set to star Stranger ThingsDavid Harbour and could have faced a similar fate. Films that have such a thin margin of error typically don’t want to rock the boat or will steer directly into to the iceberg to mine success. Hellboy is an interesting property to test this theory considering the previous films were only moderately successful though Hellboy-fan and critics connected a bit more with those Guillermo Del Toro films.

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Tilda Swinton Doctor Strange

The counter to the theory that whitewashing can affect a film’s bottomline runs up against the massive success of a film like Marvel’s Dr. Strange that saw Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton take on the role of the hero’s mentor, the Ancient One. The character was originally an male, Asian, guru type which was seen as stereotypical at times, but became canon so when Swinton was announced many fanboys and girls lost their minds. The more reasonable critics believed that Marvel could have easily have found an acclaimed asian actor of any gender to play the role. Marvel changed the race, gender, and culture of the character though Swinton stole several scenes within the film. Serious concerns about a backlash bubbled up before the release and during the press, but ultimately, Marvel took home almost $700 million worldwide on the movie.

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The new version of the demonic hero has the full support comic book creator Mike Mignola who wrested back full control his property to make a more faithful adaptation this time around. Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall is helming the project which will likely film for a bit under $70 million. Del Toro was notorious for wanting an inexorbitant amount for his 3rd Hellboy film which caused it to stall. The reboot will see Ian McShane playing hero’s adoptive father, while Milla Jovovich is playing a medieval sorceress who wants to destroy humanity.

Skrein’s statement today is significant as many white actor may now start considering their lot in Hollywood before choosing to sign on to roles sight-unseen.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter