“Alina of Cuba” producer John Martinez Ophelan has hit back at John Leguizamo, criticizing James Franco’s casting as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.
After James’ casting was announced, John, 62, took to Instagram to write, “How is this still going on? How is Hollywood getting rid of us and then stealing our story too?
“Don’t misappropriate Hollywood and streamers anymore! BOYCOT! THIS IS A FAILURE! PLUS YOU WILL BE WRONG. It’s very hard to tell without exaggerating!”
“I have no problem with Franco, but he’s not Latino!”
However, producer John Martinez countered, calling Leguizamo “culturally uneducated”.
He told The Hollywood Reporter: “Historically, a man like John Leguizamo has been revered by Hispanics since the 90s as one of the earliest Latino actors in America. And virtually zero blind attacks related to this project.
“The reality of the ignorant piece lies within his statements suggesting his personal view of being ‘Latino’, because the land and living spheres are different from human lineage and genetics.” This is because it does not determine
“His notes are a big point of contention because they represent the same confusion and identity crisis in Hollywood right now, because they are now within the Hispanic community of America, which we only perceive as Latin. They’re supposed to represent us, but instead they’re causing division among their own people.
“I think he should forget about himself and admit that this story is about a historically significant Latino female immigrant living in America led by a Latino woman. Please understand that it is a bit disappointing to see our work attacked by someone who claims to be a leader in the Latin community.”
The Castro film James is set to star in is helmed by Spanish director Miguel Bardem.
He is joined by actress Mia Maestro, 47, who plays socialite Natalia ‘Nati’ Revuelta, Castro’s former mistress.
Ana Villafañe, 33, plays Alina Fernandez, daughter of Castro and Revuelta.
Written by José Rivera and Nilo Cruz, it follows the life of Fernandez, a Cuban exile and social activist who discovers at the age of ten that she is Castro’s daughter.
Fernandez became an anti-communist activist, was arrested multiple times while trying to flee Cuba, and was banned from traveling abroad. She defected to Spain in her 1993 and settled in Miami.
The film will reportedly begin shooting on August 15 in Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia.