James Franco will play Fidel Castro in 'Alina of Cuba,' according to John Leguizamo

James Franco will play Fidel Castro in 'Alina of Cuba,' according to John Leguizamo ...

Following yesterday's Deadline announcement that James Franco would play Cuban revolutionary and former president Fidel Castro in the independent film Alina of Cuba, John Leguizamo is expressing his displeasure about the casting. He fiercely condemned the choice for Miguel Bardem's new film on his Instagram page as yet another example of cultural appropriation. Franco himself does not have Latino roots.

"How is this still going on?" Leguizamo questioned in his response. How is Hollywood excluding us but also stealing our narratives? No more appropriation of Hollywood and streamers! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement, which would be wrong! I don't have a problem with Franco, but he aint Latino!"

Alina of Cuba follows Castro's illegitimate daughter Alina Fernandez (Ana Villafane), who was brought up in a wild affair with Castro and Cuban socialite Natalia Naty Revuelta (Mia Maestro). At the age of ten, she'd finally uncover her past when her mother confessed their misgivings to her and grew up to become a fierce opponent of her father's regime, facing arrest on several occasions. In 1993

The rage of Leguizamo appears to be exactly what Alina of Cuba was aiming to avoid when casting its actors. Fernandez herself accepted Franco's casting after an extensive search to find the best possible physical fit to play "El Comandante" among the best actors in the industry. John Martinez OFelan, the film's creative producer, spoke to Deadline about the lengthy process that went into finding the ideal Castro:

Finding and convincing James Franco to play Castro was a fun and challenging process that has been the result of a collaboration between the director and Alina Fernandez. We used Fidel Castros ancient Galician heraldry as our focus, and then comb through the entire ranks of actors with Latin roots in Hollywood to find someone who would intrigue audiences and bring the story to life with true visual integrity.

Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, Sian Chiong, and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez round out the cast of the film. Bardem is directed by OFelan and Joe Lamy for Mankind Entertainment, Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler for Maven Screen Media, and Allen Gilmer and Rikki Rushing for Redbud Studios.

On August 15, Alina of Cuba will begin filming in Cartagena and Bogota. View Leguizamo's Instagram post criticizing the film here.