, 2022-08-06 23:03:00,
After expressing his outrage over James Franco being cast as Fidel Castro in the independent feature drama Alina of Cuba, Primetime Emmy winner John Leguizamo has expounded on his stance regarding Hollywood casting non-Latinos in Latino roles. Specifically, in an Instagram post earlier today, he says “Alright, look, I got no problems with James Franco, yo, OK?” while explaining, “I grew up in a era where Latin people couldn’t play Latin people on film.”
Also earlier today, Alina of Cuba producer John Martinez O’Felan released a statement defending the casting of Franco who is of Latin-Portuguese heritage and responding to Leguizamo’s initial protest, saying “I want to point out that his odd comments, if you base them on genealogy, are a blind attack and lack any factual substance.”
Deadline first told you about Franco playing El Comandante in the Miguel Bardem directed Alina of Cuba from Oscar-nominated scribe José Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries) and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz about Cuban exile-turned-social advocate Alina Fernández aka Castro’s daughter, whose birth was the result of a passionate affair between the Communist revolutionary leader and Natalia “Naty” Revuelta. Mía Maestro will play Revuelta while Ana Villafañe plays Castro’s daughter Fernández.
In Leguizamo’s follow-up post, which you can see below, he explains how he grew up and worked in Hollywood at a time “where Charleston Heston played a Mexican, where Eli Wallach played Mexican, where Pacino played Cuban and Puerto Rican, where Ben Affleck even in Argo played a Latin guy and Marisa Tomei playing Latin women.”
“We couldn’t play our own roles,” says the To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar actor. “There was brown face: People painting themselves to look Latin in West Side Story…..”
“That’s the era I grew up in. The era where they told you to change your name, stay out of the sun, that only white Latinos or white-passing Latinos would get jobs and they weren’t even the main leads,” continued Leguizamo.
“Cause…’There’s no Latin actor who can carry that movie.’ Yeah because you’re never given the opportunity to play anything that was of worth that had worthy value, that was an integral part of the plot that could give you box office,” the actor added.
“So, no, no. Appropriating our stories — no more of that. I’m done with that,” asserted Leguizamo.
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