Lionsgate announced a Hellboy reboot earlier this week, and the movie is already facing some backlash. The reboot is wrapped in controversy over whitewashing after casting a British actor to portray an Asian character.
Meanwhile, Hellboy was announced as the latest added character to ‘Injustice 2,’ which drops on September 12.
A Hellboy reboot is in works according to Lionsgate
Lionsgate and Millenium announced earlier this week, the comeback of a frightening character. The project is heading toward a September start and will shoot in the U.K. and Bulgaria.
The last take of Hellboy was delivered by Guillermo Del Toro, and while fans waited for the director to complete the trilogy, as it was first announced, the studio decided to go in a different direction.
The new project will be directed by ‘The Descent’ and ‘Game of Thrones‘ helmer, Neil Marshall. The script was penned by the very own comics creator, Mike Mignola. Starring as Hellboy is ‘Stranger Things’ break out David Harbour.
Harbour has spoken about following in the footsteps of Ron Perlman, and how his approach to the character will differ from his predecessor:
“Ron sort of embraces this machismo in himself and in Hellboy, and I really like it and it’s super fun and it’s a super fun performance,” he said praising his predecessor. “But I think Hellboy has a certain psycho dynamic where occasionally he has to prove that he’s the lion, has to roar, and I think he struggles with his own masculinity.”
“I have a bit of a different take on his capability or his slickness. I sort of think that for me he’s a little less skilled at constructing that persona,” he concluded.
Also starring in the upcoming film are Ian McShane as the hero’s adoptive father, Milla Jovovich as the villainess and Ed Skrein as Major Ben Daimio. Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin are among the producers, as is Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Entertainment.
Controversy over whitewashing
After news broke of Ed Skrein taking on the role of Major Ben Daimiao in the Hellboy reboot, fans took to social media to express outrage over the cast choice.
Skrein played the villain Ajax in ‘Deadpool‘, the 2016 Ryan Reynolds hit that made $783 million worldwide. The character is Japanese-American in Mike Mignola’s comic version and his heritage is a central point to the character’s backstory.
Daimio’s grandmother was a Japanese Imperial assassin in World War II, so the casting of a Japanese actor seems imperative. Many objected to the role not going to an Asian-American actor and called it another example of Hollywood ‘whitewashing’ Asian characters.
“I guess they want this to fail,” said actress Cindy Chu on Twitter.
The backlash follows previous controversies including the castings of Emma Stone as a half-Hawaiian, half-Chinese Air Force pilot in Cameron Crowe’s ‘Aloha’ who’s one-quarter Hawaiian with a half-Asian father.
The casting of Tilda Swinton as “The Ancient One” in ‘Doctor Strange’ was appreciated for its gender-swapping but was frowned upon because the character is traditionally Asian. And Scarlett Johansson as the cyborg protagonist in the Japanese anime remake ‘Ghost in the Shell.’
Though Masamune Shirow, director of the original ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ defended Johansson’s casting, many lambasted the choice. When the $110 million film flopped in April, Paramount Pictures said the casting conversation impacted reviews, and thus its disappointing box-office debut.
Most recently Netflix’s adaptation of the manga ‘Death Note‘ was under fire for whitewashing, using white actors as a replacement for characters of color.
The original source material follows a Japanese teen named Light Yagami, but in the reboot, he is played by a white teen in Seattle named Light Turner, played by Nat Wolff.
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 21, 2017
Hellboy landing in ‘The Injustice 2’
Hellboy seems to be all over the place this week, on Wednesday it was revealed ‘The Injustice 2’ Fighter Pack 2 by NetherRealm Studio, and Hellboy is one of the new characters.
In a new trailer released on Wednesday, the latest additions to the game were revealed. The first two revelations were Dc’s bad guy Black Manta and Mortal Kombat’s Raiden.
However, the big surprise turned out to be Hellboy, who while Black Mamba and Raiden are fighting, jumps right in stealing the show.
In his usual way, the giant red hero lights up a cigar from a missile launched by Raiden.
The more observant Injustice 2 players had already figured out that Black Manta and Raiden were on the way, thanks to their very distinctive fashion choices making their silhouettes on the fighter screen easy to decode.
Neither Raiden or Hellboy are part of the DC universe but will nevertheless help add more variety to the already-packed Injustice 2 characters list.
The new Fighter Pack 2 goes on sale September 12, with its first character, Black Manta, being available that day.
NetherRealm has confirmed that a new Black Manta character trailer will debut on August 27.
Source: Hollywood Reporter