Exactly two weeks after Ed Skrein made a surprise exit from Lionsgate's Hellboy reboot, following "whitewashing" concerns about his character Major Ben Daimio, a replacement has been found. Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim has entered talks to play Ben Daimio, who, in the comics is a Japanese-American character. After Ed Skrein stepped away from the role, Lionsgate released a statement stating that the studio will re-cast the character, "with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material," and it seems they've found their man in Daniel Dae Kim.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news today, describing the Major Ben Daimio character as, "a rugged military member" who works for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BRPD), who also has the ability to turn into a jaguar when he's injured or becomes angry. Ed Skrein signed on to play Ben Daimio in August, using social media to express his excitement for taking on the role. His casting sparked a new whitewashing controversy, although no one was expecting that, just a week after signing on, Ed Skrein would back away from the project, revealing in a statement that he wasn't aware the character was of Asian-American descent when he signed on.
The role comes along at a perfect time for Daniel Dae Kim, who made headlines earlier this year for leaving his long-running CBS series Hawaii Five-0, along with his co-star Grace Park. Both Asian-American stars were seeking a salary equal to what their white co-stars, Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, make, and when their demands weren't met, they both exited the series in June, before production on the show's eighth season got under way. Before Hawaii Five-0, Daniel Dae Kim had his breakout role as Jin-Soo Kwon in Lost, where he appeared in all six seasons of the hit ABC series.
With this Hellboy reboot, Daniel Dae Kim joins a growing cast that includes David Harbour as the title character, Milla Jovovich as Nimue the Blood Queen, Ian McShane as Professor Broom, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan and Penelope Mitchell as Ganeida. A report from last month claimed that fans will see the return of Abe Sapien, who was played by Doug Jones in the two Hellboy movies from director Guillermo del Toro and star Ron Perlman. Other characters mentioned in this report that haven't been cast yet include the Gruagach, a pig-like fairy creature who is described as a "vengeful adversary of Hellboy," who wants revenge for turning him into this creature, along with Babe Yaga and mystical characters King Arthur and Merlin.
With Hellboy production reportedly starting this month, the cast is certainly coming together fast, although it remains to be seen how many more stars will sign on for this reboot. Neil Marshall is directing the Hellboy reboot from a script by comic book creator Mike Mignola, Andrew Crosby and Christopher Golden. Lionsgate hasn't issued a release date for Hellboy quite yet, but if it does go into production this month, as previously reported, then it could be ready for a late 2018 release, although that's merely speculation at this point. Daniel Dae Kim most recently appeared on the big screen as Jack Kang in the Divergent sequels Insurgent and Allegiant.