Recently, the Hellboy reboot received a fair amount of criticism for casting Ed Skrein as Ben Daimio. This was because the character is supposed to be a Japanese-American whose Japanese heritage exerted a significant measure of influence over who he was, meaning that initial casting choice would have been problematic for two reasons. First, it would have been one more example of whitewashing in a film industry that has become notorious in some places for it. Second, it would have resulted in a change to the character, thus resulting in a less than perfect depiction on the movie screen. Regardless, Skrein was gracious enough to acknowledge the issues before stepping down, with the result that he has been replaced in the role by Daniel D. Kim.
Is Daniel D. Kim the Right Choice?
Skills-wise, there can be no doubt about the fact that Daniel D. Kim possesses more than enough expertise and experience to play Daimio. After all, he has played a wide range of roles in a wide range of media projects, meaning that he has the breadth needed to excel in something that promises to be as out there as the Hellboy reboot. Furthermore, he has played a fair number of action roles, with examples ranging from Chin Ho Kelly in Hawaii Five-0 to Johnny Gat in the Saints Row franchise. As a result, it seems safe to say that Kim will be able to deliver a solid performance as the ex-marine risen from the dead through divine shenanigans.
With that said, there are arguments against Kim’s casting as Daimio as well. After all, Daimio is a Japanese-American as opposed to a Korean-American, meaning that the ideal candidate to play the character would have had Japanese heritage as well. This is important because a significant proportion of the various East Asian ethnicities do not see themselves as being members of a single overarching group but rather as members of separate groups, meaning that an East Asian actor of one such group should not be considered an easy substitute for an East Asian actor of another such group. While there has not been much of a fuss kicked up about Kim’s casting so far, a similar casting choice that saw Jackie Chan being chosen to play a Vietnamese veteran seeking revenge for his murdered daughter in The Foreigner provoked a fair amount of irritation not so long ago. Summed up, getting this sort of thing right is a lot more complicated than it seems, which is why serious effort towards that direction should be encouraged.
What Can We Expect from the Hellboy Reboot?
Regardless, not too much has been revealed about the Hellboy reboot at this point in time. We know that this will be a reboot as opposed to a Hellboy 3 done by Guillermo del Toro, meaning that it might be interesting to see whether it sticks closer to its source material. Furthermore, we know that Daimio will have a role in it, which is interesting because his particular situation in the comics resulted in a lot of trouble for his team-members. Otherwise, there is no real point to speculating too much based on too little, though fortunately, it seems probable that more information will be coming out in the not too distant future as more work gets done on the movie.
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