James Franco's Casting as Castro Causes a Ruckus

Latino actors including John Leguizamo aren't happy with choice for upcoming movie
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2022 8:45 AM CDT
James Franco's Casting as Castro Causes a Ruckus
James Franco in a 2019 photo.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – James Franco has been chosen to play Fidel Castro in an upcoming movie, reports Deadline, and the choice is not sitting well with Latino actors. John Leguizamo in particular has been leading the criticism about a non-Latino actor getting the role, per Variety. “How is this still going on?” he asked on Instagram. “How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement, which would be wrong! I don’t got a [problem] with Franco but he ain’t Latino!” The movie, Alina of Cuba, is scheduled to begin shooting later this month in Colombia.

The 44-year-old Franco is of Portuguese and Swedish descent on his father's side, notes People, while his mother is descended from Russian Jews. Franco himself has not responded to the controversy. CNN notes that Leguizamo is not the only one voicing displeasure. "Reading that James Franco will have to 'build' an accent for Castro, when my entire life I've been made fun of for not speaking English like an American and been told countless times to work hard to get rid of it," wrote actor Sol Rodriguez. Latinos make up nearly 20% of the US population but have only about 5% of speaking roles in top movies, per CNN. (Read more John Leguizamo stories.)

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