Stars back Ed Skrein decision to exit Hellboy movie amid whitewashing row

A host of actors have praised Ed Skrein's decision to drop out of a planned Hellboy reboot after his casting caused a whitewashing controversy.

Ed's hiring to play Major Ben Daimio in the movie sparked outrage among fans as in the original comic books the character is a Japanese-American.

On Monday (28Aug17) the 34-year-old Brit announced on Instagram that he would no longer be playing Major Ben, stating he was unaware of the character's Asian origin when he took the role and now believes it should be played by an actor of Asian origin.

Ed was praised by several non-white actors for stepping aside and giving an Asian star the chance to play a major movie role.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Riz Ahmed wrote on Twitter, "Respect to @edskrein for setting the example & reminding us progress requires sacrifice & representation is collective responsibility."

Korean American stars John Cho and Daniel Dae Kim also supported his decision, with John writing, "I wanna work with @edskrein" and Daniel adding, "My deepest bow of #respect to you, Mr. @edskrein."

Riz's fellow Star Wars alumni John Boyega also offered his "respect" to the Deadpool star on social media.

In his statement announcing his withdrawal Ed wrote, "It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people and to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the arts. I feel it is important to honor and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately."

In their own statement to the film's producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin said they "fully support" Ed's "unselfish decision" and would be recasting the role.

The casting of white stars as movie characters that were a different ethnic origin in the source material has sparked controversy in recent years, with Scarlett Johansson's fronting of a live action remake of Japanese animation Ghost in the Shell drawing particular criticism.

In the new Hellboy film David Harbor will take on the titular anti-hero originally played by Ron Perlman in Guillermo del Toro's much loved 2004 adaptation, while Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich will also star.

Director Neil Marshall will begin shooting on the new movie in the U.K. and Bulgaria next month (Sep17), according to The Hollywood Reporter.