Why does Hollywood keep whitewashing Asian characters?

'Hellboy' movie reboot casts Some White Dude as a Japanese American character.

At this point, they can't even pretend to give a shit.

This week, news broke that actor Ed Skrein has joined the cast of the upcoming Hellboy reboot, Rise of the Blood Queen, as Ben Daimio, who is Asian American in the comic books. Yes, in the illustrious Hollywood tradition of pretending Asian actors don't exist, yet another white guy will play an Asian character.

'Deadpool' Actor Ed Skrein Joining 'Hellboy' Reboot (Exclusive)

In the Hellboy comic books, Ben Daimio is a severely scarred former marine officer who works for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Due to supernatural encounter in the field, he has the ability to transform into a monstrous, jaguar-like creature under extreme stress.

Daimio's Japanese American heritage actually plays a significant part in the character's development and backstory. In B.P.R.D.: Killing Ground, Daimio's loyalty is called into question when it is revealed that his grandmother was an Imperial Japanese agent known as The Crimson Lotus. As history has shown, Japanese Americans have a little experience with their loyalty being unjustly called into question by the government.

So yeah, this character is Asian American. But who the hell is Ed Skrein?

He is the white, British-born actor who played the villain Ajax in Deadpool. And he was perfectly fine in that. But he is not such an extraordinary actor that he can somehow convincingly play a person of Asian descent. No, it's more likely they'll just conveniently and clumsily overlook that aspect of the character, and come up with every conceivable weak justification for why this character simply had to be played by this particular white guy.

That's called whitewashing, kids.

We've heard it all before. Stop. You can't tell me this guy is the box office draw. He is not. Nobody, except Ed Skrein's mom, is going to see Hellboy because they saw Ed Skrein's name in the billing block.

Don't tell me that you couldn't find Asian American actors for this role (if you bothered at all). Off the top of my head, I can name at least a dozen guys -- actors with substantial credits -- who could kick ass as Ben Daimio.

And please, for the love of Bruce, don't pretend the best actor got the job.

"Someone comes and does a great audition to get the role," tweeted Hellboy executive producer Christa Campbell in response to controversy over the casting. "Stop projecting onto us. We are all one. We don't see colors or race." Yes, what you don't see is precisely the problem.

(Campbell has since deleted her tweets.)

We all know that opportunities for Asian American performers in Hollywood are still few and far between. It's one thing to be consistently rendered invisible. That's just frustrating. But when the source material for a film actually serves up that rare Asian American character, and the role inexplicably goes to Some White Dude, yet again, that is a serious buttered loaf of bullshit.

I'm not telling you anything new. This is just the latest instance in Hollywood's looooong history of whitewashing, yellowface and general exclusion of Asian performers. At this point, you'd think someone would realize that this is just a bad look and a bad idea. You'd think. But it's apparent that the decision-makers in this process didn't know or didn't care about the inherent racism -- or the potential publicity baggage -- that informs casting a white guy for this role.

Proceed at the peril of your project.

More here: 'Hellboy' Casting Of Ed Skrein As Japanese Character Draws Whitewashing Backlash

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