Posted For: AriesTonto
Actor John Leguizamo lashed out at Hollywood and streaming platforms on Friday, accusing them of “cultural appropriation” after he learned that actor James Franco had been cast as dictator Fidel Castro in the upcoming film “Alina of Cuba.”
Sharing a screen shot of an article announcing the casting decision on Instagram, Leguizamo added a caption complaining that both Hollywood and streaming platforms often cast non-Latino actors to play iconic Latino roles.
“How is this still going on? How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers!” Leguizamo said. “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!”
The filmmakers defended the decision by pointing out the fact that Franco, whose ancestry includes Portuguese along with Russian, Jewish, and Swedish, actually shared a similar facial structure to Castro — who was born in Cuba but of Spanish (European) descent.
“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,” John Martinez O’Felan told Deadline, adding, “In executing a close search into our hopefuls through the eye of Spanish and Portuguese genealogy which the Galicians held, we found that James, by far, had the closest facial likeness.”
Castro’s own daughter Alina Fernández approved the casting decision as well, saying, “James Franco has an obvious physical resemblance with Fidel Castro, besides his skills and charisma.”
Fernandez also touted the fact that nearly the entire project — both in front of the camera and behind — is Latino.
“I find the selection of the cast amazing,” she said. “Ana Villafañe is extraordinarily talented, and not only as an actress because she is also a great singer, a very complete performer. I’m sure that Mía Maestro, an actress I admire, will understand and interpret Naty, my mother, in a unique way and I can’t wait to see her building her character.”
Leguizamo followed his first complaint with a video explaining that his complaint had arisen out of his own experience with what he described as “brown face” — white actors like Charlton Heston and Ben Affleck being made up to look Latin in order to play certain roles.
“Brown face in Hollywood ain’t new! Imagine all the Latin stars who could’ve been made in these roles!!! But we weren’t allowed. We have been the largest ethnic group in America since the birth of the Nation and the most excluded from the good and riches of our labor and sacrifice!” he added in a second follow-up, along with a list of “White actors playing Latino!”
- Anthony Hopkins as El Zorro in “The Mask of Zorro”
- Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as Maria and Tony in “West Side Story” (1961)
- Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in “Argo” (2012)
- Will Ferrell as Armando in “La Casa de mi Padre” (2012)
- Jack Palance as Fidel Castro in “Che” (1969)
- Eli Wallach as Tuco in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (1966) and as Calvera in “Magnificent Seven” (1960)
- Hank Azaria as Agador in “The Birdcage” (1996)
- Marlon Brando as Emiliano Zapata in “Viva Zapata!” (1952)
- Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elena in “The Mask of Zorro” & “The Legend of Zorro” (1998 and 2005)
- Johnny Depp as Bon Bon/Lieutenant Victor in “Before Night Falls” (2000)
- Cliff Curtis as Pablo Escobar in “Blow” (2001) and as Emilio Restrepo in “Colombiana” (2011)
- Madonna as Evita in “Evita” (1996)
- Armand Assante as a Cuban in “Mambo Kings”
- Al Pacino as Tony Montana in “Scarface” (1983)
- John Turturro as Jesús in “The Big Lebowski” (1998)
- Jack Black as Nacho in “Nacho Libre” (2006)
- Ingrid Bergman as María in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943)
- Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez in “The Soloist” (2009)
- Jared Leto in Lonely Hearts as Raymond Martínez (2006)
- Pacino in Carlito’s Way 1993
- Marisa Tomei in The Perez Family
- Barry Miller in Fame movie playing Puerto Rican kid named Ralph