James Franco to Play Fidel Castro in Alina Fernandez Biopic Alina of Cuba

Oscar winner James Franco has just lined up his next big role in a feature film. Deadline reports that Franco has just been cast as Fidel Castro in Alina of Cuba, a biopic that explores the love affair between the former Cuban leader and Cuban-born socialite Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, played by Imagen Award winner Mia Maestro. Also starring in the film is Ana Villafañe who was previously cast in the role of Castro’s daughter, Alina Fernandez, with other cast members including Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, Sian Chiong, and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez.

“Since the inception of the film, our focus has been to produce an artistic piece of modern Hispanic history, with the vision for the project as being truly inclusive through uniting actors and creatives from both intergenerational and recent Latin roots from the U.S, Latin America, and the world,” Mankind Entertainment producer John Martinez O’Felan said. “That said, casting Ana and Mia were no-brainers because, besides the trajectory of their past work, one represents modern Cuban-America and the other Argentina. After watching Ana’s reel and auditioning her, it became evident she was perfectly suited and had a great voice to carry the material, and Mia’s work in the past with Jose spoke for itself and screamed writer/actress reunion.”


Written by Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), the film is based on the true story of Fernandez, who was born as the result of the love affair between Castro and Revuelta. Alina first learned about her parents when she was 10 years old and would grow up to become one of Castro’s most outspoken critics. She defected to Spain in 1993 before ultimately settling in Florida, a move that had drawn a lot of attention in the media at the time.

Additionally, this film will be accompanied by a companion documentary dubbed Revolution’s Daughter which will be filmed on location alongside Alina of Cuba. The doc will delve into the history of Cuba and Alina Fernandez with Thaddeus D. Matula directing.

James Franco Will Play Fidel Castro

Gambit Pictures

“Finding and convincing James Franco to play Castro, was a fun and challenging process and has been the collaborative work of the universe, because our director’s original order was to find an actor who holds a close physical resemblance to the real Castro to build from, along with finding someone Alina Fernandez would strongly endorse,” O’Felan also says of casting Franco. “To get there on such a tough look to cast, we used Fidel Castro’s ancient Galician heraldry as our focal compass, and then combed through the entire ranks of actors with Latin roots in Hollywood to find someone who has a similar facial structure.”

He added, “In executing a close search into our hopefuls through the eye of Spanish and Portuguese genealogy which the Galicians held, we found that James, by far, had the closest facial likeness of our Industry’s leading actors, meaning that the focus would be to build out his character accent and we’d have a stunning on-screen match to intrigue audiences and bring the story to life with true visual integrity. Altogether, working with such a supportive and exciting cast has been a true blessing to our team and project.”

While controversy has kept Franco away from the big screen for a while, he has recently been getting his acting career back on track with new roles in the works. It was recently reported that he will also star in Me, You, a post-World War II drama film. Franco has not been seen in a released feature film since 2019’s Zeroville.