A truth bomb has been dropped.
Daniel Dae Kim, who will play Japanese-American scientist Ben Daimio in the upcoming “Hellboy” movie, described his emotions to Entertainment Weekly around his casting. The role of Daimio had initially been given to white actor Ed Skrein, who, after massive backlash on social media, stepped down from the character.
Kim, who was cast into the role shortly afterward, addressed the incident and explained that it people of color aren’t the only ones who should be educated about the existing racial disparities in casting.
“I was incredibly grateful to Ed, and I have such respect for what he did because, as much as I can fight for diversity, it’s equally important for people like Ed, who are white and male, to understand the issue as well and take action,” he told the outlet.
In a post on social media, Skrein had explained why he was stepping down from the role.
“I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage,” the actor wrote. “There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right.”
While some felt that Skrein’s actions were admirable, others felt that he caved to social media pressures. Rapper and actress Awkwafina previously told HuffPost the movements pushing for proper casting are important for this very reason.
“There was the actor who dropped out of the ‘Hellboy’ role. Everyone was like, ‘He’s such a hero! He’s my hero!’ The truth is, what he did was valiant but he’s not a hero. He was scared,” she said. “That change is amazing because if there was no backlash, then he probably would’ve been like, ‘Hell yeah! Let me be Asian.’ It’s about changing people’s mentalities.”
When it comes to inequalities in the entertainment industry, Kim has taken action and spoken out in recent years. Just prior to his “Hellboy” casting, The actor had quit his role as lead of “Hawaii Five-0,” along with fellow Asian-American actor Grace Park, after discovering they’d been paid less than their white counterparts.
“I feel like ‘Hellboy’ was supposed to be my next job, given how things ended with ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and what Ed Skrein so admirably did when he exited,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
Read the rest of the interview here.