John Leguizamo took to Instagram to denounce the recent casting of James Franco as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in the upcoming independent film, “Alina de Cuba”. Variety confirmed the casting of Franco August 4. “Alina de Cuba” is directed by Miguel Bardem, based on a screenplay written by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz.
“How is it still going? Leguizamo asked his Instagram followers if Franco was chosen as a Cuban historical figure. “How does Hollywood exclude us but also steal our stories? No more Hollywood appropriation and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Moreover, a seriously difficult story to tell without enlargement, which would be wrong! I do not have [problem] with Franco but he’s not a Latino!
“Alina of Cuba” is set to begin production on August 15, with the crew filming in Colombia. Franco will star alongside Ana Villafañe, who plays lead character Alina Fernandez, Castro’s daughter. The script follows Alina’s life as Castro’s illegitimate daughter and critical of her rule in Cuba before she left the country and defected to Spain in 1993. Franco’s casting as Fidel Castro was supported by real-life Fernandez, who is involved with the film as a creative and biographical consultant on set.
The film’s supporting cast includes Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez. Mía Maestro also appears in the film as Alina’s mother, Natalia Revuelta, the Cuban socialite who gave birth to her after an affair with Castro.
Leguizamo often advocates for Latino representation in Hollywood, telling people magazine in 2020, “We represent less than 1% of the stories told by Hollywood and the media and streaming networks while we represent almost 20% of the population, 25% of the American box office. I just feel like it’s so damaging for kids not to see themselves reflected in a positive way.
Read Leguizamo’s full post on Franco’s casting below.