Leguizamo sounds off on Hollywood casting Franco as Fidel.
Leguizamo sounds off on Hollywood casting Franco as Fidel. Photos: Getty Images.

“He ain’t Latino!” John Leguizamo sounds off on the casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro

The Emmy-winning actor took to social media to call out Hollywood again a white actor in a non-white role.


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Following the recent news of James Franco being cast as former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, it rightfully caused controversy across the Latinx community as well as Hollywood. Many Latinx actors and workers in the industry called out the negligence of Hollywood, which that continues to cast white actors in non-white roles. 

Franco’s past sexual misconduct allegations only add to the bad publicity surrounding the casting. 

Encanto star John Leguizamo has been one of the most vocal since he took to Instagram to express his disbelief and disappointment. 

“How is this still going on?---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 b wrong! I don’t got a prob with Franco but he ain’t Latino!” Leguizamo wrote in a post. 

“Latin exclusion in Hollywood is real—Don’t get it twisted! Long long history of it! And appropriation of our stories even longer! Why can’t Latinxers play Latin roles? Why can’t we play lead roles? Why can’t they flip white roles to Latin guys and gals?” he continued. 

The film, Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde from director Miguel Bardem, cast Franco based on Portuguese roots found on his father's side and because of similar facial features and structure to Castro.

Leguizamo has been a long time advocate for Hispanic and Latinx inclusion in the acting industry. 

Despite the controversy now surrounding the film along with Franco, the film’s producer John Martinez O’Felan responded to the comments from Leguizamo in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.

“A guy like John Leguizamo has historically been looked up to by Hispanics as one of America’s earliest actors of Latin descent since the 90s and I’ve always admired him as a fellow underdog — But his comments are culturally uneducated and a blind attack with zero substance related to this project,” said Martinez O’Felan. 

“I think he should move past himself and also acknowledge that this story is about a Latin female immigrant living in America who is of historical importance, led by a Latin woman — I’m just an underdog who is making it, so he should also understand that it’s kind of disappointing to see our work getting attacked by someone who claims to be a leader of the Latin community,” he continued. 

Leguizamo followed up on these comments with another post in which he called out previous famous Latino roles being played by non-Latino actors including Ben Affleck, Al Pacino, Eli Wallach, and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. 

“I’ve been told so many times you can’t have two Latin people in the movie, otherwise people think it’s a Latin movie. Or Latin people don’t want to see Latin people, they want to see white people in roles. That’s what I’ve been told. That’s what goes on in this industry — It should be an equal playing field, we should be able to play whatever role, but that’s not the way it works. It only works one way. OK? That’s just how it is,” he said. 

Despite the controversy surrounding the project, filming is expected to begin on Aug. 15, in Colombia.


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