Daniel Dae Kim, famous for his roles in Hawaii Five-O and Lost, has confirmed that he is joining the cast of Lionsgate and Millennium’s Hellboy reboot. He issued a statement along with news of his employment thanking the movie’s producers and actor Ed Skrein for seeking an actor who was culturally appropriate for the role.
In his statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Kim said “I applaud the producers and, in particular, Ed Skrein for championing the notion that Asian characters should be played by Asian or Asian American actors. He could not have addressed the issue more elegantly and I remain indebted to him for his strength of character.”
— Daniel Dae Kim (@danieldaekim) September 13, 2017
The role Kim was cast for is that of Major Ben Daimio, a Japanese-American character that is a member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. In the series, he was attacked by a supernatural creature that now gives him the abilities to transform into a Jaguar-like creature.
Casting controversies have not typically gone this way. Recent adaptations such as Ghost in the Shell and Death Note had their own whitewashing controversies that the production companies tried to push aside regardless of the negative blowback. In this case, Ed Skrein took it upon himself to drop out of the picture after a public outcry was made for his casting. This was a big deal. Ed Skrein is not Matt Damon. He isn’t swatting away projects all the time. He also made it clear that he wanted Lionsgate to cast the role appropriately and not just find another white actor for the role. He made a terrific gesture and now audiences will be rewarded by having a culturally appropriate casting choice. It shouldn’t be this difficult in 2017, but it always is.
Kim finishes his statement by adding, “I’m excited to confirm that I’ve officially joined the cast of Hellboy. We start shooting today and I’ll be playing Ben Daimio, alongside our very talented cast, headed by David Harbour, and director, Neil Marshall. Thank you for all the supportive tweets and comments, especially in light of the recent events surrounding its original casting.” If Hellboy has to continue without Guillermo del Toro at the helm, at least this picture is heading in the right direction with its casting and vision.