James Franco Faces Backlash For Casting As Fidel Castro

“Ryan Gosling as Barack Obama” energy.

On Thursday, Deadline confirmed that actor James Franco will play Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro in the upcoming film Alina of Cuba.

Actor Mía Maestro will star alongside Franco as Castro’s former lover, Natalia “Naty” Revuelta.

Since the news broke, however, Franco — who is a white man— has faced backlash for his casting as the Cuban politician.

People said the role should’ve gone to a Latino actor:

So, apparently James Franco has been cast as Castro in an upcoming film. They couldn’t find a single Latino actor to play Castro? Also, what allyship looks like is Franco declining the role and recommending a Latino actor!!!


Twitter: @uche_blackstock

justifications surrounding james franco’s casting as castro (his skin was light, he had “galician” heritage…) are missing the entire point—latine are grossly underrepresented in hollywood, and this was an obvious role for a latino that went to a white actor


Twitter: @amariamontoya

People in the industry also called out the casting. Actor John Leguizamo spoke out on Instagram saying, “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 difficult story to tell without aggrandizement, which would be wrong! I don’t got a problem with Franco, but he ain’t Latino.”

The View cohost, Ana Navarro, agreed with John.

.@JohnLeguizamo is absolutely right. And frankly, I don’t want to see a movie about Fidel Castro, regardless of who they cast. https://t.co/xj7sM9hUey


Twitter: @anaanavarro

Actor Jeff Torres said, “I’m auditioning for another generic Latin American drug dealer, and James Franco is dead ass playing Fidel Castro.”

I’m auditioning for another generic Latin-American drug dealer and James Franco is dead ass playing Fidel Castro. Latinos gettin’ done dirty af out here and everywhere. Damn lol


Twitter: @iamJeffTorres

Some on Twitter even joked how bizarre the casting is:

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images

James has not responded to the backlash, but we will update you if he does.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.

Leave a Comment