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Why Ed Skrein leaving Hellboy over whitewashing is good for everyone


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Ed Skrein, best known for playing the antagonist in Deadpool, recently announced that he is exiting the planned Hellboy reboot after public outcry over his casting - here's why that's good for everyone.

Skrein's decision received strong support both by fans and artists. Whitewashing controversies have plagued high-profile movies a lot recently - just look at what happened with the live-action Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange - but this is the first time public outcry over the issue has led to an actor actually leaving a production.

First things first, Skrein's exit creates an opportunity for an actor of Asian or mixed Asian heritage to take a role in a high-profile movie, which is fantastic. 

As for Skrein himself, his decision has garnered him a lot of goodwill and a lot of good press. Not that I'm suggesting he did this for cynical reasons, but I think it's safe to say this will open more doors for him in the industry than starring in The Transporter Refueled ever did. 

This development is also great for the Hellboy reboot - they dropped the ball by casting Skrein in the first place, but owning up to a mistake and taking steps towards correcting it not only is the right thing to do, but will end up giving the movie some positive press as well. Plus, these kinds of creative shake-ups should ideally happen early in a production anyway. 

So Ed Skrein choosing to exit Hellboy over this controversy is great news for Skrein's future replacement, Skrein himself and the movie, but, more importantly, it's a decision that will hopefully make waves in the industry as a whole.

It sets a precedent for other artists should they ever find themselves in similar circumstances. Turning down a high-profile role is not an easy decision to make and the fact that Skrein did it and was praised for it might encourage others to follow suit.

It's also a strong statement in support of more diverse casting that will hopefully result in studios and casting agencies being more responsible and considerate with their decisions. The industry should learn from these mistakes and do its best not to repeat them. 

That being said, the film industry should also always carefully examine the cause for concern whenever there's public outcry over a casting decision. When it comes to high-profile movies like these, fans are very vocal and very opinionated and it's important to be able to tell the difference between "casting Ed Skrein as a character with mixed Asian heritage is whitewashing" and "Michael Keaton/Ben Affleck will be a terrible Batman".

Make no mistake, this is a big deal and there's every reason to believe the consequences of Skrein's decision will benefit everyone in the long run - so, fingers crossed and let's see what happens next.

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