Renowned actor John Leguizamo recently called out upcoming movie, “Alina Of Cuba,” for casting James Franco as the ex-president of Cuba, Fidel Castro. He called fans’ attention by accusing Hollywood of “stealing” and appropriating some Latino narratives by picking the 44-year-old for the role.
The two-time Golden Globe winner and Oscar-nominee will play Castro in the upcoming biopic, which also stars Imagen Award winner Mía Maestro as Natalia Revuelta. In the film, Franco shares a romantic relationship with the Cuban-born socialite.
While some were upset, this isn’t the first time Franco has riled up the public. After a four-year hiatus due to several sexual assault allegations, Franco is returning to acting.
Keep reading to find out what Leguizamo had to say and how fans responded.
John Leguizamo Is Upset At James Franco’s Casting
The 62-year-old actor and comedian took to his Instagram page to express his thoughts. He posted the Deadline casting news and wrote in the caption, “How is this still going on?” He then called out Hollywood for appropriating the Latinos and excluding them from films.
He said, “How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation in Hollywood and streamers! Boycott!” The Columbian-born actor also referred to the situation as “Fucked up.”
In support of him, the most recently appointed “The View” host and commentator, Ana Navarro, revealed that she also planned to boycott.
‘The View’s Ana Navarro Chimed In
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Also upset at the Franco casting, Navarro commented, “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.” She then added that she was in support of Leguizamo’s criticism and would also boycott the film. “For both reasons you articulated, I join you in the boycott.”
Some fans also commented in support of his statement. One said, “Definitely not seeing. Makes no sense when there are so many good Latino actors out there.” Others called out the “Alina Of Cuba” crew for picking Franco to star in their film while he was still battling a sexual assault scandal.
“And I guess everyone has forgiven him for sexual assault?? I haven’t forgotten, and I will BOYCOTT everything HE does!!” A fan wrote. Many fans also wondered what the attraction to Franco was and why he was picked for the role by the team.
Why James Franco Was Chosen For The Role
In a statement to Deadline, John Martinez O’Felan, the film’s creative producer, opened up about why Franco was picked for the film. While it was challenging for him to convince Franco to play Castro it was also exciting. He also added that the “process” was “the collaborative work of the universe.”
This was because the film’s director specifically wanted an actor with the closest resemblance to the real-life Castro to work with. He also wanted to find someone that looked like the now 66-year-old Alina Fernandez.
“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,” he explained.
During their search, he discovered that Franco had the closest physical resemblance to Castro. He said, “James, by far, 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.”
‘Alina Of Cuba’
The upcoming biopic by Spanish director Miguel Bardem is based on the real life exile of Fidel Castro’s daughter and activist, Alina Fernandez. It was also written by the Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.
Fans were surprised to see Franco cast in the film. This surprise was because it was his first major role since the sexual assault scandal. He broke the almost four-year-long silence since 2018 in a rare interview in December, where he admitted to using his “fame like a lure.” However, he insisted that some of the allegations were false.
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