In Hollywood, truth is stranger than fiction.
Thursday, Term announced that James Franco of “Pineapple Express” and “This Is the End” had been cast as Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in “Alina of Cuba,” a biopic inspired by the life of his estranged daughter, Alina Fernandez.
On Friday, after the casting of a white US actor for the role of a prominent Latin American political figure widespread condemnation online (including some very pointed criticism of the actor John Leguizamo), one of the film’s producers gave an explanation.
“[W]We used the ancient Galician heraldry of Fidel Castro as our focal compass, and then combed through the ranks of actors with Latino roots in Hollywood to find someone with a similar facial structure,” said producer John Martinez O’Felan. in a sentence.
“Performing a thorough search of our applicants through the Galician eye of Spanish and Portuguese genealogy, we found that James had by far the closest resemblance to the leading actors in our industry, which means that the approach would be to develop his character accent and we would have a stunning combination on screen to intrigue audiences and bring the story to life with true visual integrity.”
No, I’m not quoting the Onion. That is an actual statement from the producer of the movie.
Those involved in the project have been careful to point out that the film features Latino actors in other roles, including Cuban-Salvadoran Ana Villafañe in the title role of Fernández and Argentinean Mía Maestro as Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, Fernández’s mother. . On Saturday, Fernández herself expressed her support for the decision to sign Franco. Like her said the deadline: “James Franco bears an obvious physical resemblance to Fidel Castro, in addition to his skills and charisma.”
Never mind that Franco’s casting does nothing for Latino representation in American cinema, which is usually atrocious. It does not matter that this contributes to a continuous elimination of Latinos in American popular culture. Never mind that studios spent the months after the 2020 uprisings talking about “pipes” and “inclusion” just to serve Franco (who, it’s also worth noting, has faced accusations of misconduct from several colleagues and students). It doesn’t matter that Latino audiences in the US are continually subjected to lousy spanish on screen. Never mind the intricate DNA: talk about “Galician heraldry”.
Is it James Franco, a guy who generally has the demeanor of someone who has been immersed in quick pineapple, Really What is the best guy to play a caffeinated Cuban dictator? A leader who, regardless of what you may have thought of his politics, was a magnetic speaker who has the record for the longest speech before the United Nations General Assembly between 1945 and 1976?
any producer Really clock images of Castro’s marathon four-and-a-half-hour speech, the transcript of which occupies 40 single-spaced letter-size pages if it is printedand they say to themselves: what if we got that guy who could barely organize a Oscars Broadcast? And then, when people asked why this great role, perhaps the most prominent Latin American leader of the 20th century, couldn’t go to a Latino actor, respond with a statement that reads like the 23andMe end user license agreement .
It’s like a plot from “The Producers.”
In that popular musical, a couple of Broadway moneymen try to get rich by intentionally producing a Broadway flop. Which made me think…
Why just whitewash the role of Fidel Castro? Why not create the the majority whitewashed, non-Cuban version of “Alina of Cuba,” a “House of the Spirits” for the new millennium, a “Perez Family” for the internet age? If you’re going to bleach, GO ALL THE WAY. Make it so awkward and excruciating that people will remember it with the same embarrassed amazement they usually reserve for that hot tub sex scene on “Showgirls.”
Inspired by what is obviously an incredible and lucrative idea, I called Rosa Lowinger, the Cuban-born, Los Angeles-based author of “Tropicana Nights: The Life and Times of the Legendary Cuban Nightclub.” Together, we project a whole new image that people will talk about for decades. Our working title: “Spring for Castro.”
Here is our dream team:
Fidel Castro: Played by James Franco, obviously. He has a scruffy beard. And, as we have already established, his ancestors come from the same 4 million square mile continent as Castro’s. Franco will have to work to “develop” his accent, but he’ll get bonus points from us if he mangles the ‘r’ in co-worker! — also known as “comrade” in Cuban. That will be part of the charm of the movie.
Ernest Che Guevara: Seth Rogen is our favorite for the Argentine revolutionary, of course. He might even do a “Motorcycle Diaries” prequel. I mean, the GIFs it already exists.
Fulgencio Batista: The role of the Cuban dictator ousted by Castro falls to Nathan Lane channeling his best Gomez since “The Addams Family” musical. Also, he was pretty good in “The Producers.”
Camilo Cienfuegos: Cienfuegos was the hottest of Fidel companions, known for his love of the dance floor and the ladies. He was presumed dead after a plane crash at sea in the early days of the revolution, before the regime had ossified into autocratic rule. A martyr taken too soon? Or does Cienfuegos secretly live in Las Vegas? Either way, he’s the ideal role for Adam Driver.
Naty Revolt: The socialite who sold her jewelry to support the bearded (the bearded ones) in their early days, even sewing uniforms for them, Revolt she was known as “one of the most exquisitely beautiful women in Cuba”. She had an affair with Castro in the 1950s (while he was still married to his wife, Mirta Díaz-Balart) and that union produced a daughter, Alina. The character of Revolt couldn’t be more suitable for Catherine Zeta-Jones. It would be a perfect marriage of the Welshwoman’s two previous roles: the cunning heroine of “Zorro” and the ruthless drug dealer in Lifetime. “The Godmother of Cocaine”.
Aline Fernandez: Long estranged from her father (Castro only belatedly recognized her as his daughter), Fernández fled from cuba at 30 she disguised herself as a Spanish tourist and later became an outspoken anti-communist activist. Zooey Deschanel fits the bill perfectly. Both she and Alina share brown-haired DNA.
Ruby Hart Phillips: She is the reporter for the New York Times who covered the Cuban revolution in its early days. We’re going to pick Nicole Kidman, because this is obviously an ensemble image with a lot of star power. But as part of the narrative, she sleeps with a revolutionary, because in Hollywoodland, that’s the kind of thing women journalists do.
CIA Agent: Every movie set in the midst of a revolution in Latin America needs a CIA agent. We nominated Vin Diesel because he did very well racing cars all over Havana’s Malecón in “The fate of the furious”. More importantly, this will draw action fans into this major historical drama.
If you’re a Hollywood producer and want to opt into what promises to be a moving piece of film history, contact The Times’ department of rights and authorizations. Our attorneys are waiting.
This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.