On Friday, August 5, John Wick star John Leguizamo turned to Instagram to voice his displeasure with American actor James Franco’s recent casting as Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The Instagram post included a screenshot of the Variety story in which the news was verified. Leguizamo commented in the post’s caption:
“I have no beef with Franco, but he ain’t Latino!”
However, Leguizamo’s article drew a lot of backlash for his thoughts on James Franco’s casting as Fidel Castro. Some pointed out that when he played Italian legend Mario’s brother Luigi in 1993’s Super Mario Bros., he had no objections about the ethnic validity of performers and their roles. Brandon (@coffeeaisle) remarked in a tweet:
“Wasn’t John Leguizamo in the ‘Super Mario Bros.’ film an Italian plumber?”
What does John Leguizamo have to say about James Franco’s impending appearance as Fidel Castro?
Following the announcement that 127 Hours star James Franco will play former Cuban President Fidel Castro, John Leguizamo said that Hollywood had stolen Latino roles and given them to White actors. Franco, who was born in Palo Alto, California, was cast as Cuban native Castro in Miguel Bardem’s Alina of Cuba. Leguizamo’s Instagram post featured a lengthy diatribe on the subject. He even called on his supporters to boycott the next film. The Columbia native, 62, wrote:
“How is this still happening? How is Hollywood not just excluding us, but also hijacking our stories? There will be no more appropriation of Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This is messed up! Furthermore, it is quite difficult to convey a narrative without embellishment, which would be incorrect!”
The internet is split over John Leguizamo’s remark on James Franco’s casting as Fidel Castro
As previously stated, a substantial chunk of Twitter reactions emphasized how John Leguizamo did not raise similar concerns when he was cast as the fictitious Italian plumber, Luigi, in 1993’s Super Mario Bros. In the highly praised film, the Colombian native from Bogotá portrayed the Italian plumber. Other internet users, on the other hand, derided the scenario and expressed their support for Leguizamo since the part of Luigi was fictitious. In contrast, as a revolutionary in Cuba, Fidel Castro remains one of the most powerful characters in world politics.
Nah dude. It ain’t 1950 anymore. We got lots of amazing Latino actors that deserve a role over this rapist.
— KD (@Kskroob) August 5, 2022
This one is extra frustrating too since there’s been discrimination against Cubans in American cinema for decades. Now a biopic about the most famous cuban ever and they can’t find someone from all of Latin America
— cooldude (@cooldudettv) August 5, 2022
Celebrities agree with John Leguizamo’s critique of James Franco’s casting as Fidel Castro.
Leguizamo’s Instagram post received over 16,000 likes, many of which were from Latinx celebs. This included actress Aubrey Plaza, who agreed with Leguizamo. Meanwhile, The View co-host Ana Navarro-Cárdenas agreed with the Ice Age actor, writing:
“I’d like to believe that no Latino actor worth his or her salt would agree to portray and glorify a homicidal tyrant who oppressed the people of Cuba for six decades… I’m joining you in the boycott for the reasons you stated.”
Since 2014, when a then-17-year-old girl accused him of sending her allegedly improper Instagram messages, James Franco has been embroiled in a number of other scandals. According to the claims, Franco wanted to see the girl in a New York hotel, particularly when she indicated her age. While not legally criminal, given the minimum age of consent in New York is 17, the actor was widely condemned at the time.
Later, beginning in 2018, many women claimed that he coerced them into sexual actions. The New York Times reported in January 2018 that five women had accused Franco of s*xual misconduct. It was reported last year that Franco paid $2.2 million to settle with two women who alleged he sexually abused them.