EW has confirmed that Daniel Dae Kim is in negotiations to play the military man in Lionsgate and Millennium’s big-screen reboot, replacing Ed Skrein after he departed the project in response to complaints of whitewashing an Asian-American character.
In the Hellboy comic books, Daimio is a Japanese-American officer at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense who has the ability to transform into a jaguar.
Kim is best known for his work on television, with credits including Lost and Hawaii Five-0. He is Korean-American.
Skrein, who is white, became attached to the role of Daimio last month but vacated due to a backlash. In a statement shared on social media, he said he had to “do what I feel is right” and noted that he had been unaware of the character’s origins.
“It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts,” he added. “It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity.”
Skrein’s decision drew praise from colleagues and fans.
Kim has also made recent headlines for taking a principled stand: Earlier this summer he and Grace Park left Hawaii Five-0 after unsuccessfully seeking equal pay with stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. Addressing his exit in a Facebook post, he wrote, “The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am.”
If a deal is reached on Hellboy, Kim will join a cast that includes David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, and Ian McShane. Neil Marshall is directing.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.