John Leguizamo is calling for “no more appropriation” after James Franco was cast as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in an upcoming film.
He hit out after it was revealed earlier this week the 44-year-old Californian will be playing Castro in indie project ‘Alina of Cuba’.
Colombian-born John, 62, vented on his Instagram on Friday (06.08.22): “How is this still going on? How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well?'?
His post quickly racked up almost 10,000 likes.
It went on: “No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! 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!”
Among commenters on the post was ‘The View’ co-host Ana Navarro who told ‘Summer of Sam’ star John she would join him in boycotting the film.
She said: “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.”
The Castro film in which James is set to appear is being helmed by Spanish director Miguel Bardem.
He will be joined by actress Mía Maestro, 47, who will play the role of socialite Natalia ‘Naty’ Revuelta, Castro’s one-time mistress.
Ana Villafañe, 33, is playing the role of Alina Fernandez, daughter of Castro and Revuelta.
Written by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz it will show the life story of Cuban exile and social campaigner Fernandez, who found out aged 10 she was Castro’s daughter.
Fernandez became an anti-communism activist who was arrested multiple times for her attempts to flee Cuba, and banned from travelling outside the country. She defected to Spain in 1993 and settled in Miami.
The film will reportedly begin shooting August 15 in the Colombian cities of Cartagena and Bogota.
Producer John Martinez O’Felan told Deadline “finding and convincing James Franco to play Castro, was a fun and challenging process and has been the collaborative work of the universe, because our director’s original order was to find an actor who holds a close physical resemblance to the real Castro to build from, along with finding someone Alina Fernandez would strongly endorse”.
He added that after a comprehensive search “into our hopefuls through the eye of Spanish and Portuguese genealogy which the Galicians held”, James was found to have 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”.
He said casting Villafañe and Maestro were “no-brainers” as “besides the trajectory of their past work” one “represents modern Cuban-America” and the other Argentina.