Posted on August 8, 2022

John Leguizamo Slams Decision to Cast James Franco as Fidel Castro

George Stark, Daily Mail, August 5, 2022

John Leguizamo has slammed the decision to cast American actor James Franco as the Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in an upcoming film.

It was revealed earlier this week that Franco, 44, will be playing Castro in the indie project Alina of Cuba, and Lequizamo, 62, took to his Instagram on Friday to speak out over the casting choice.

‘How is this still going on? How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well?’ Leguizamo began in his rant, that received almost 10,000 likes.

‘No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong!’

Adding: ‘I don’t got a prob with Franco but he ain’t Latino!’

The View co-host Ana Navarro then commented under the post, telling Leguizamo that she would ‘join’ him in boycotting the film.

Navarro wrote: ‘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. For both reasons you articulated, I join you in the boycott.’

Franco is se to appear in the film that is being helmed by Spanish director Miguel Bardem.

The Oscar-nominated actor will be joined in the cast by actress Mía Maestro, 47, who will play the role of socialite Natalia ‘Naty’ Revuelta, who was Castro’s one-time mistress, Deadline reported Thursday.

The pair join actress Ana Villafañe, 33, in the cast, as she is playing the role of Alina Fernandez – the daughter of Castro and Revuelta – in the motion picture.

The motion picture – of which the script was penned by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz – will depict the life story of Fernandez, a Cuban exile and social activist.

When she was 10, Fernandez found out that she was Castro’s daughter, as her mother revealed to her the truth after Castro had visited the family home secretly for years. Revuelta had given her and her doctor husband’s wealth to finance the beginning stages of the communist revolution.

Fernandez eventually became an anti-communism activist who was arrested multiple times for her attempts to depart Cuba, and banned from traveling outside the country. Fernandez in 1993 defected to Spain and eventually settled in Miami.

The film will begin shooting August 15 in the Colombian cities of Cartagena and Bogota, according to the outlet.

Producer John Martinez O’Felan told Deadline that ‘finding and convincing James Franco to play Castro, was a fun and challenging process and has been the collaborative work of the universe, because our director’s original order was to find an actor who holds a close physical resemblance to the real Castro to build from, along with finding someone Alina Fernandez would strongly endorse.

‘To get there on such a tough look to cast, we used Fidel Castro’s ancient Galician heraldry as our focal compass, and then combed through the entire ranks of actors with Latin roots in Hollywood to find someone who has a similar facial structure.’

O’Felan said that after a comprehensive search ‘into our hopefuls through the eye of Spanish and Portuguese genealogy which the Galicians held,’ Franco was found to have ‘had the closest facial likeness of our industry’s leading actors, meaning that the focus would be to build out his character accent and we’d have a stunning on-screen match to intrigue audiences and bring the story to life with true visual integrity.’

He said that casting Villafañe and Maestro ‘were no-brainers because, besides the trajectory of their past work, one represents modern Cuban-America and the other Argentina.’

O’Felan told the outlet that the focus of the project is to ‘produce an artistic piece of modern Hispanic history, with the vision for the project as being truly inclusive through uniting actors and creatives from both intergenerational and recent Latin roots from the U.S, Latin America, and the world.’