On August 4th, James Franco has reportedly been cast as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in “Alina of Cuba” is directed by Miguel Bardem Based on screen play by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz, but many Latino actors aren’t happy about their decision.
Most notably, “Chef” and “Moulin Rouge!” actor John Leguizamo, who recently voiced Bruno in Disney’s “Encanto,” blasted Franco’s Casting on Instagram. He argued that the role should have gone to a Spanish actor instead.
“How is this still going on?” Leguizamo asked on Friday. “How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement, which would (be) wrong! I don’t got a (problem) with Franco but he ain’t Latino!”
Leguizamo isn’t the only Latino star angered by the casting. “Wtf is this….” wrote actress Jess Darrow, who also voiced Luisa Madrigal in “Encanto,” in response to Leguizamo’s post.
“I’m sorry but what in the actual f**k?” wrote actor Raúl Castillo in an Instagram story. Not me reading that James Franco will have to ‘build’ an accent for Castro, when my entire life I’ve been made fun of for not speaking English like an American and been told countless times to work hard to get rid of it…” wrote Actress Sol Rodriguez.
James Franco will play Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Miguel Bardem’s Alina of Cuba with Imagen Award winner Mía Maestro set to play Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, the Cuban-born socialite he has a passionate love affair with.
They join previously announced actress Ana Villafañe who is portraying Alina Fernandez aka Castro’s Daughter. The screenplay from Oscar-nominated scribe Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries) and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz, follows the true-life story of Cuban exile turned social advocate, Fernandez, whose birth was the result of the tryst between Revuelta and Castro.
Latino representation has long lagged in Hollywood. Despite making up 18% of the US population, only 5% of the speaking roles in 2019’s top 100 movies went to Latino actors, according to a 2020 study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
Franco faced allegations of inappropriate and sexually exploitive behavior in 2018 from five women, several of whom were his students. In 2021, in the wake of settling a class-action lawsuit, he admitted sleeping with students from the acting school he co-owned.