Ed Skrein confirmed that he’s dropping out of Hellboy reboot just days after it was announced that the 34-year-old actor would be starring in the film.
E! News reports that Skrein was set to play Major Ben Daimio, a member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense who can turn into a jaguar when angered or in pain. Major Daimio is of Asian heritage in the original Dark Horse comic.
The casting news prompted backlash from the internet, many claiming that Hollywood was once again whitewashing a character.
Today, the Game of Thrones star took to Twitter to respond to the public outcry, saying he is stepping down from the film hoping the role will go to the actor that best fit the character.
“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. I feel it is important to honor and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately,” Skrein wrote in a lengthy statement.
“Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the arts a reality,” he added.
He concluded, “I am sad to leave Hellboy but if this decision brings us closer to that day, it is all worth it. I hope it makes a difference.”
The movie also stars Stranger Things‘ David Harbour. He thank the fans for their words and Skrein for his decision. “Hey internet. Thank you for your voices. An injustice was done and will be corrected. Many thanks to @edskrein for doing what is right,” he tweeted.
Hellboy producers Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Millennium and Lionsgate released a statement following Skrein’s announcement: “Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision. 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.”
Actor Ian McShane will be playing Hellboy’s adoptive father, Professor Bloom. While Milla Jovovich will portray the role of Nimue the Blood Queen, a medieval sorceress set on destroying humanity. Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall is set to direct the film.