James Franco Movie Producer Responds to John Leguizamo Castro Criticism – The Hollywood Reporter

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Following criticisms by John Leguizamo of James Franco’s casting as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro within the impartial movie Alina of Cuba, producer John Martinez O’Felan has responded, calling the feedback “culturally uneducated.”

Set to be directed by Miguel Bardem and based mostly on a script written by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz, Franco stars reverse Mía Maestro, who portrays Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, a Cuban-born socialite with whom Castro turns into romantically entwined. The movie is predicated on the true-life story of Alina Fernandez — performed by Ana Villafañe — a Cuban exile turned social advocate who learns at age 10 that she is Castro’s daughter.

Leguizamo, a Colombian American actor who wrote and carried out the Broadway manufacturing Latin Historical past for Morons, took to Instagram on Friday to slam the choice to forged Franco, questioning why Hollywood is “excluding” the Latinx neighborhood and notes {that a} movie on Castro is a “critically troublesome story to inform with out aggrandizement.”

“How is that this nonetheless happening?” Leguizamo, who has beforehand been vocal concerning the lack of Latinx illustration in Hollywood, stated of the casting. “How is Hollywood excluding us however stealing our narratives as effectively? No extra appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus critically troublesome story to inform with out aggrandizement, which might be incorrect! I don’t acquired a prob with Franco however he ain’t Latino!”

In response, O’Felan, the movie’s producer, stated in a press release to The Hollywood Reporter that he admires Leguizamo however that his feedback are a “blind assault.” 

“A man like John Leguizamo has traditionally been seemed as much as by Hispanics as considered one of America’s earliest actors of Latin descent for the reason that 90s and I’ve at all times admired him as a fellow underdog. However his feedback are culturally uneducated and a blind assault with zero substance associated to this challenge.” 

“The truth of the ignorance piece falls inside his assertion suggesting his private view on being ‘Latino,’ as a result of a land mass or dwelling space doesn’t decide an individual’s blood historical past or genetics,” he continues.  

O’Felan goes on to say that Leguizamo’s “observe is a good speaking level as a result of they signify the identical confusion and identification disaster in Hollywood proper now inside the Hispanic neighborhood in America who’re arguing that we must always solely determine as Latin, which is generally due to the falsehoods being unfold by the actors who’re alleged to be representing us, however as an alternative create division amongst their very own folks.” 

The producer concludes that Leguizamo’s criticism finally detracts from who the movie is about: Fernandez.

“I believe he ought to transfer previous himself and in addition acknowledge that this story is a few Latin feminine immigrant dwelling in America who’s of historic significance, led by a Latin lady and I’m simply an underdog who’s making it, so he also needs to perceive that it’s sort of disappointing to see our work getting attacked by somebody who claims to be a pacesetter of the Latin neighborhood,” he states.

Alina of Cuba contains a forged and crew from “no less than seven nations from world wide” in line with O’Felan, with manufacturing design by Carlos Osorio, modifying by Diego Fernando Bustamante, costume design from Daniela Rivano and Juan Carlos Gil as director of pictures. Nana Fisher, who has regularly collaborated with Franco, will function the top of his make-up group whereas Jessica Drake will function the main forged’s dialect coach.

Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez are among the many film’s supporting forged, with filming scheduled to start on Aug. 15 within the Colombian cities of Cartagena and Bogota.

The position marks one of many first for Franco for the reason that 2019 animated movie Artic Canine and the HBO collection The Deuce. The Oscar-winning actor was accused in an L.A. Occasions report in 2018 by a number of ladies of sexually exploitative conduct following his Golden Globes win for The Catastrophe Artist. In 2021, Franco settled a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed by actresses Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal — former college students from his now-defunct appearing faculty Studio 4. Franco’s legal professionals denied the allegations, however the actor admitted to sleeping with college students, although he said it was not with anybody in his class.


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