*John Leguizamo and several Latin actors have slammed the casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro in the upcoming independent film “Alina of Cuba.
The film is directed by Miguel Bardem and is based on the life of Castro’s daughter, Alina Fernandez and her exile from Cuba. Deadline confirmed that Franco has been tapped to play Fidel and the news has left veteran actor Leguizamo calling out Hollywood’s trend of appropriation.
“How is this still going on? How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well?” he wrote in a post on Instagram. “No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! I don’t got a prob with Franco but he ain’t Latino!”
“The View” co-host Ana Navarro also pledged to participate in the boycott.
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“I’d like to think no Latino actor worth their salt would sign up to play and aggrandize a murderous dictator who terrorized the people of Cuba for six decades,” Navarro commented. “For both reasons you articulated, I join you in the boycott.”
Meanwhile, Castro’s daughter supports Franco’s casting as her father. As reported by EW, she noted that “the project is almost entirely Latino, both in front and behind the camera.”
“James Franco has an obvious physical resemblance with Fidel Castro, besides his skills and charisma,” Fernández told Deadline. “I find the selection of the cast amazing.”
Bardem will direct “Alina of Cuba” with a script from award-winning playwrights Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz, per the Deadline report.
“The filmmakers worked a lot and I can’t be more grateful to them for their overall inclusive selection,” said Fernández. “To me, the most important thing about his movie is that the conversation about Cuba is alive. Personally, the experience is so far too unexpected but more than anything, humbling.”
“Alina of Cuba” producer John Martinez O’Felan clapped back at Leguizamo, saying, “I want to point out that his odd comments, if you base them on genealogy, are a blind attack and lack any factual substance.”
How do you feel about Franco playing Fidel? Sound off in the comments.