James Franco was reportedly cast as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro, and many Latino actors aren’t happy.
Most notably, the prolific John Leguizamo, who recently voiced Bruno in Disney’s “Encanto,” lambasted Franco’s casting on Instagram. Leguizamo argued that the role should have gone to a Latino actor instead.
“How is it still going? Leguizamo asked Friday. “How does Hollywood exclude us but also steal our stories? No more Hollywood appropriation and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! In addition, a seriously difficult story to tell without enlargement, which would be (would) be false! I have no (problem) with Franco but he’s not a Latino!
Franco is set to star as Castro in the upcoming “Alina de Cuba,” which is set to begin production later this year, according to reports. The film follows the life of Alina Fernandez, Castro’s daughter.
Leguizamo isn’t the only Latino star irritated by the casting.
“Wtf that’s it…” wrote actress Jess Darrow, who voiced Luisa Madrigal in “Encanto,” in response to Leguizamo’s post.
“I’m sorry but what about real f**k?” wrote actor Raúl Castillo in an Instagram story.
“I’m not the one reading that James Franco will have to ‘build’ an accent for Castro, when all my life I’ve been laughed at for not speaking English like an American and being told said countless times to work hard to get rid of it…” wrote actress Sol Rodríguez.
“I’m auditioning for another generic Latin American drug dealer and James Franco is a** dead playing Fidel Castro,” the actor wrote Jeff Torres on Twitter. “Latinos get dirty here and everywhere. Shit lol.
Latin representation has long dragged on in Hollywood. Despite making up 18% of the US population, only 5% of speaking roles in the top 100 movies of 2019 went to Latino actors, according to a 2020 study from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
Franco also faced allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual exploitation in 2018 from five women, several of whom were his students. In 2021, following a class-action settlement, he admitted to sleeping with students at the theater school he co-owned.