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

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 relies 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 group and notes {that a} movie on Castro is a “significantly troublesome story to inform with out aggrandizement.”

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

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

“A man like John Leguizamo has traditionally been regarded as much as by Hispanics as certainly one of America’s earliest actors of Latin descent because the 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 residing space doesn’t decide an individual’s blood historical past or genetics,” he continues.  

O’Felan goes on to say that Leguizamo’s “word is a superb speaking level as a result of they characterize the identical confusion and id disaster in Hollywood proper now throughout the Hispanic group in America who’re arguing that we must always solely determine as Latin, which is usually due to the falsehoods being unfold by the actors who’re speculated to be representing us, however as a substitute create division amongst their very own folks.” 

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

“I feel he ought to transfer previous himself and likewise acknowledge that this story is a few Latin feminine immigrant residing 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 group,” he states.

Alina of Cuba includes a forged and crew from “at the very least seven nations from all over the world” in accordance 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 images. Nana Fisher, who has steadily collaborated with Franco, will function the top of his make-up staff 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 because the 2019 animated movie Artic Canines and the HBO collection The Deuce. The Oscar-winning actor was accused in an L.A. Instances report in 2018 by a number of girls of sexually exploitative habits 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 performing college Studio 4. Franco’s attorneys denied the allegations, however the actor admitted to sleeping with college students, although he acknowledged it was not with anybody in his class.



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