Producer Fires Back After John Leguizamo Calls Out Casting Of James Franco As Fidel Castro: ‘I Don’t Got A Prob With Franco But He Ain’t Latino!’
John Leguizamo is taking Hollywood to task for its latest casting choice.
The actor was disappointed by the team behind the upcoming Alina Fernández biopic who cast James Franco in the role of her father, Fidel Castro.
He took to Instagram to explain his disagreement with the casting.
“How is this still going on? How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well?” he began the post.
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He shared a screenshot of a Deadline article reporting the casting.
“Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde” (which translates to, “Alina of Cuba: The Rebel Daughter”) is being directed by Miguel Bardem with a script from Oscar-nominated screenwriter José Rivera and Pulitzer winner Nilo Cruz.
“No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up!” continued Leguizamo. “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!”
Franco is of Portuguese and Swedish descent on his father’s side, and Russian Jewish descent on his mother’s side.
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Ana Villafañe will play Fernández in the film, with Mía Maestro cast in the role of Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, her mother whom Castro had an affair with.
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 historically been looked up to by Hispanics as one of America’s earliest actors of Latin descent since the ’90s and I’ve always admired him as a fellow underdog. But his comments are culturally uneducated and a blind attack with zero substance related to this project,” said O’Felan.
“The reality of the ignorance piece falls within his statement suggesting his personal view on being ‘Latino,’ because a land mass or living area does not determine a person’s blood history or genetics,” 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 within the Hispanic community in America who are arguing that we should only identify as Latin, which is mostly because of the falsehoods being spread by the actors who are supposed to be representing us, but instead create division amongst their own people.”
O’Felan added: “I think he should move past himself and also acknowledge that this story is about a Latin female immigrant living in America who is of historical importance, led by a Latin woman and I’m just an underdog who is making it, so he should also understand that it’s kind of disappointing to see our work getting attacked by someone who claims to be a leader of the Latin community.”
Deadline reports the film “follows the true-life story of Cuban exile turned social advocate, Fernández, whose birth was the result of the tryst between Revuelta and Castro”.
Filming is set to begin on Aug. 15.
This isn’t the first time Leguizamo has been outspoken on the issue of white actors dominating casts of films. In September, he spoke out against the all-white cast of the “Super Mario Bros.” movie.
“But too bad they went all white! No Latinx in the leads! Groundbreaking colour-blind casting in original!” he wrote at the time.