For those who haven’t heard, it was recently confirmed that American actor James Franco was cast to play Former Cuban Dictator, Fidel Castro, in the upcoming independent film “Alina of Cuba.” Yes, in 2022 – with so much Latino talent in the film industry – American actors are still portraying Latinos.
James Franco Cast As Cuban Revolutionary Fidel Castro@Variety has reported that #JamesFranco will play Cuban 🇨🇺 revolutionary #FidelCastro in the forthcoming independent film “Alina of Cuba.” Familia, does this make sense to you?
(📸: Getty)#MakeItMakeSense pic.twitter.com/cz0aTC45go
— NYLatinoFilmFestival (@NYLFF) August 5, 2022
This time, however, the popular Colombian actor, John Leguizamo, took to social media to speak about his concerns. On August 5th, he spoke out on something that’s been on many of our minds. How is this type of casting is still happening?
Leguizamo wrote: “How is this still going on? 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 b wrong!” he wrote on his Instagram post. “I don’t got a prob with Franco but he ain’t Latino!”
Franco’s casting was a surprise to many. Hollywood seems to refuse to pick from the many Latinos who are willing to work on this forthcoming film, especially when it comes to important parts of Latino history that will now be told by a white, American face.
Castro’s daughter, Alina Fernández, supports the casting: “James Franco has an obvious physical resemblance with Fidel Castro, besides his skills and charisma.” It was also reported that she was “proud” of the project since it’s “almost entirely Latino, both in front and behind the camera.” But is that enough?
The Nicaraguan-American and Florida-based political commentator, Ana Navarro, commented on Leguizamo’s post: “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.”
Leguizamo’s call for a boycott has many interesting layers regarding an actor like Franco. In the same post, many social media users expressed their concerns over Franco’s dark history.
Did we forget that he was under fire for sexual misconduct allegations? For those who don’t remember, in 2018, Franco was explicitly accused of “sexually exploitative behavior” by five different women.
LA Times reported a piece on the allegations. “In some cases, they said they believed Franco could offer them career advancement and acquiesced to his wishes even when they were uncomfortable.” What?! Disgusting.
Whether or not the casting gets modified, what’s clear is that Hollywood still has a blind spot toward Latino talent.
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