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John Leguizamo takes Hollywood to task for his latest casting choice.
The actor was disappointed with the team behind Alina Fernández’s upcoming biopic casting James Franco as her father, Fidel Castro.
He took to Instagram to explain his disagreement with the cast.
“How is it still going? How does Hollywood exclude us but also steal our stories? he started the post.
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He shared a screenshot of a Deadline article about the casting.
“Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde” (which translates to “Alina of Cuba: The Rebel Daughter”) is directed by Miguel Bardem with a screenplay by Oscar-nominated screenwriter José Rivera and Pulitzer winner Nilo Cruz.
“No more Hollywood appropriation and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! continued Leguizamo. “Also a seriously difficult story to tell without an enlargement that would be false! I have no problem with Franco but he is not a Latino!
Franco is of Portuguese and Swedish descent on his father’s side and of Russian Jewish descent on his mother’s side.
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Ana Villafañe will play Fernández in the film, with Mía Maestro as Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, her mother with whom Castro had an affair.
Following Leguizamo’s criticism, the film’s producer, John Martinz O’Felan, issued a scathing response during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“A guy like John Leguizamo has always been considered by Hispanics to be one of the premier Latin American actors since the 90s and I’ve always looked up to him as an outsider. But his comments are culturally uneducated and an indiscriminate attack without substance related to this project,” O’Felan said.
“The reality of ignorance is his statement suggesting his personal view of being ‘Latino,’ because land mass or area of life does not determine a person’s blood or genetic background,” O’Felan continued, adding that Leguizamo’s “note” serves as a “great talking point because they represent the same confusion and identity crisis in Hollywood right now among the Hispanic community in America who argue that we don’t should only identify as Latins, which is mainly due to the lies spread by the actors who are supposed to represent us, but instead create a division among their own people.
O’Felan added, “I think he should step up and also recognize that this story is about a Latin immigrant living in America that’s historically significant, led by a Latin woman and I’m just an outsider who does, then he should also understand that it’s a little disappointing to see our work being attacked by someone claiming to be a leader of the Latin community.
Deadline reports that the film “follows the true story of Cuban exile-turned-social defender, Fernández, whose birth is the result of the rendezvous between Revuelta and Castro”.
Filming is set to begin on August 15.
This isn’t the first time Leguizamo has spoken out about the issue of white actors dominating movie castings. In September, he spoke out against the all-white cast of “Super Mario Bros.” film.
“But a pity that they have become all white! No Latinx in mind! Revolutionary colorblind cast in the original!” he wrote at the time.