John Leguizamo Blasts James Franco’s Fidel Castro Casting: ‘How Is This Still Going On?’

John Leguizamo was quite outspoken when Chris Pratt and Charlie Day were cast as the voices of Mario and Luigi respectively in Illumination’s new Super Mario Bros. movie. Now the casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro in the independent movie Alina of Cuba has seen the actor giving a similar opinion on his Instagram account.

Alina of Cuba follows the life of Alina Fernandez, the illegitimate daughter of the Cuban revolutionary, who was a strong critic of Castro’s time as leader of Cuba, and eventually left the country to live in Spain in the early 1990s. The film is directed by Miguel Bardem, with the script being written by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz. Along with Franco, Anna Villafane will play the title character, and the movie is set to get cameras rolling on Aug 15.


Despite Franco’s casting being supported by the real Alina Fernandez, Leguizamo clearly doesn’t feel that a non-Latin actor should be playing the role of one of the most well-known figures in recent Latin history. Writing on his Instagram, the actor wrote:

“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 be wrong! I don’t got a [problem] with Franco but he ain’t Latino!”

John Leguizamo Has Been An Advocate of Latino Representation In Hollywood.

The Boathouse

Although his big break was playing an Italian plumber alongside Bob Hoskins in 1993’s Super Mario Bros., John Leguizamo has gone on to have a long and varied career in Hollywood. In the last decade his roles have included being the voice of Sid the sloth in the Ice Age movies, appearing in the first two John Wick movies and last year providing the voice of Bruno in Disney’s smash hit Encanto. He has also spent a lot of time advocating the representation of Latino people in Hollywood movies.

As well as speaking out against the casting of so many white actors in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. animated movie, Leguizamo previously commented on the ratio of Latino stories being put on screen in Hollywood, saying, “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.”

While Leguizamo may not be happy with the casting and the way Hollywood are going about their business right now, Netflix’s Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde features Latino actress Ana de Armas in the lead role, and from all trailers and expectation, she is going to be outstanding in the role. As Hollywood attempts to promote more colorblind casting, it seems that the overall controversy around the casting of actors in some roles is still not anywhere near resolved for everyone.