Daniel Dae Kim found a semblance of redemption this week after Variety reported that he is in talks to join the cast of the upcoming Hellboy reboot, taking Ed Skrein’s place as Major Ben Aimio.
Skrein dropped out of the film project last month amid claims that the film was whitewashing the character (in the original comic series, Major Ben Aimio is described as a character of mixed Asian heritage).
“Last week it was announced that I would be playing Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming HELLBOY reboot,” he tweeted at the time. “I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage. There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right.”
The British actor’s decision to take a stand against whitewashing in Hollywood came after a series of controversial casting decisions in which white actors portrayed people of Asian descent. Scarlett Johansson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton are among Hollywood’s A-listers who have come under fire for playing iconic characters who were Asian in the source material.
Though Kim has yet to personally confirm the casting decision, winning the role could signify an important shift in the conversation surrounding inequity within the industry.
Earlier this year, Kim made headlines after he and his costar Grace Kim exited CBS’ action-packed reboot of Hawaii Five-0 due to contract disputes with network. Both Asian actors, who were series regulars on the show’s first seven seasons, were not offered the same pay as their white costars, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.
“That was a really important part of my life for seven years, and I’m really grateful to CBS and everyone involved with the show for giving me the opportunity,” Kim said during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in August. “That said, it’s possible to be grateful for the opportunity and respectful of the colleagues and the people that I work with and still maintain a steadfast sense of your self-worth.”