James Franco, who was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct in 2018, has been cast as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in “Alina of Cuba.” TUSEN film tells the story of Castro’s daughter Alina Fernandez, according to TUSEN.
Fernandez was 10 years old when she learned that Castro was her biological father. She later became a staunch anti-Castro activist and was arrested several times as a dissident for trying to flee the communist country before successfully defecting to Spain in 1993.
Fernandez will serve as a creative and biographical advisor on set, and the project is written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter José Rivera and Cuban Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz. But Franco’s casting has already sparked backlash, particularly from his fellow actors.
“How’s this going?” John Leguizamo captioned an Instagram post on Friday. “How does Hollywood still shut us out, but also steal our stories? No more appropriation of Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up!”
“Plus a seriously hard story to tell without glorification, which would be wrong!” Added leguizamo. “I have no problem with Franco, but he’s not Latino!”
“I’m auditioning for another generic Latin American drug dealer and James Franco is playing a mad Fidel Castro,” tweeted actor Jeff Torres. “Latinos get dirty here and everywhere.”
Lead creative producer John Martinez O’Felan told TUSEN that the casting has been carefully considered, however, and that he has “scoured the entire ranks of actors with Latin roots in Hollywood.” He noted that Franco, who is a quarter Portuguese, bore a “strong physical resemblance” to Castro.
O’Felan told TUSEN that his team specifically targeted actors of Spanish and Portuguese descent, as Galicians like Castro shared those ancestry. He said Franco was cast for having “the closest facial resemblance” and that he managed to “find someone who would strongly support Alina Fernandez”.
O’Felan said the “focus was on producing an artistic piece of modern Spanish history, with the vision for the project as truly inclusive by bringing together actors and creatives from intergenerational and recent Latin roots from the US, Latin America and the world.” unite.” .”
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California’s School for Communication and Journalism responded to the news on Twitter contrasting the cancellation of “multiple Latinx shows” with Franco’s casting: “No wonder there is so little progress in this town.”
The supporting cast includes Cuban-born actors Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez, as well as María Cecilia Botero from “Encanto.” “Alina of Cuba” will begin filming later this month in Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia, with its colonial architecture mimicking that of Havana.