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Actor John Leguizamo Unloads On James Franco's Casting As Fidel Castro: 'He Ain't Latino!'

Actor John Leguizamo Unloads On James Franco's Casting As Fidel Castro: 'He Ain't Latino!'
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images; Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images

John Leguizamo spoke out against the casting of James Franco as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in the upcoming film, Alina of Cuba.

“How is this still going on?” asked Leguizamo–an advocate for Latino representation in Hollywood.

Following the August 4 announcement of Franco's casting as the former Cuban leader, Leguizamo wrote on Instagram:

“How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott!"

The 58-year-old Colombian-born actor continued:

"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!”

Franco is 44 and a native of California. His father was of Portuguese and Swedish ancestry and his mother is Jewish, from a family of Russian Jewish descent.

Alina of Cuba–directed by Miguel Bardem and based on a script written by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz–is scheduled to start shooting in Colombia on August 15.

The film centers around the titular character, Alina Fernandez–Castro’s illegitimate daughter. She was an anti-communist activist who was an outspoken critic of the government of Cuba and opposed Castro's reign before defecting to Spain in 1993.

The real-life Fernandez is participating in the film production as an on-set creative and biographical consultant.

She also supported Franco's casting in the role, according to Variety.

However, not all moviegoers were on board with the casting choice.

Many agreed with Leguizamo's frustration.

Some people didn't understand the problem and called out Leguizamo for having played Luigi, a fictional Italian character in the film Super Mario Bros. based on the popular video game franchise.

And those critics were silenced.

Leguizamo has long been outspoken about the lack of Latinx representation in Hollywood.

In a 2020 interview with PEOPLE, the Romeo + Juliet actor said:

"We're less than 1% of the stories told by Hollywood and streaming media and networks when we're almost 20% of the population, 25% of the U.S. box office."
"I just feel like it's such a damage to kids not to see themselves reflected back in positive ways."