Hellboy Reboot Looks to Cast Daniel Dae Kim in Ed Skrein's Place
Last month, Ed Skrein was cast in the Hellboy reboot as Major Ben Daimio, an important character in the
Hellboy comic book universe. There was just one problem: Daimio was
Japanese-American, and Skrein wasn’t. That led to a pretty huge
controversy over the whitewashing of an Asian role before Skrein
quickly stepping down from the role.
At the very least, Skrein realized that the backlash was real and only getting bigger before he voluntarily left the project. Now, a suitable replacement has probably been found. The Hollywood Reporter is indicating that Daniel Dae Kim is close to landing the role of Major Daimio. It’s a good choice, and maybe even a great choice. Everyone knows Kim from Lost, but he’s got a deep resume of genre shows and movies to his credits. Crusade, Charmed, Spider-Man 2, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Charmed, and that weird alternate reality Hawaii Five-0 where Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan are the only two people who matter in the Aloha State.
Kim’s coming off a controversy of his own, but not one that he created. Kim and Grace Park were on Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons, and they wanted (and deserved) parity with O'Loughlin and Caan. They didn’t get it, so they walked. If Kim’s deal to join the Hellboy movie goes through, it seems like a poetic way for him to close out this chapter in his life.
It has to be said that Skrein is also a talented actor and he probably would have been a good choice for the Hellboy movie...just not in this role. The casting and creative team behind Hellboy went too far when they thought that fans were just going to accept anyone as Major Daimio. It’s not like Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis randomly chose Daimio’s ethnicity in the comics. It’s an important part of who he is and where he comes from.
Daimio’s character arc from the comics is extremely dark, even for the Mignolaverse! Like any good story, it started with Daimio’s death at the hands of a jaguar spirit while he was on a mission in Bolivia. Except death didn’t quite take to Daimio, and he woke up a few days later with his distinctive facial scarring and curse. You’ve heard of werewolves, obviously. Well, Daimio is a were-jaguar, and his hairy alter ego has a nasty habit of killing the people under his command. Basically, Daimio is the hero and villain of his own personal Hell.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Daimio’s role in the reboot is that he’s never really dealt with Hellboy in the comics. Hellboy had quit the BPRD years before Daimio joined up, so we’ll get to see their personalities collide for the first time in the reboot film. Maybe Hellboy will even be the one to fight the were-jaguar. Now that’s something that we really want to see play out on the big screen.
Images: CBS, Dark Horse