Fidel Castro’s Daughter Backs James Franco Playing Her Dad in ‘Alina of Cuba’

by Sean Griffin

James Franco, the actor best known from 127 Hours and The Disaster Artist, scored an interesting role recently.

According to Deadline, Franco has been cast as Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader, in an upcoming feature film called Alina of Cuba.

While some people remain upset with Franco’s casting since Franco isn’t Latino, Castor’s daughter, Alina Fernandez, supports the decision. She talked about his inclusion in the upcoming independent film Alina of Cuba.

She states she loves how “the project is almost entirely Latino, both in front and behind the camera.”

“James Franco has an obvious physical resemblance with Fidel Castro, besides his skills and charisma,” said Fernández about the actor of Portuguese heritage.Fernández will be played in Alina of Cuba by Ana Villafañe.

Deadline first reported that Franco would play Castro. Villafañe plays Fernández. Mía Maestro portrays her mother Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, the Cuban-born socialite who El Comandante has a passionate love affair with. Miguel Bardem directs the film. Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries) and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz wrote the script. It follows the true story of Cuban exile-turned-social advocate Fernandez, whose birth was the result of the affair between Revuelta and Castro.

“I find the selection of the cast amazing,” Fernández said.

“Ana Villafañe is extraordinarily talented, and not only as an actress because she is also a great singer, a very complete performer. I’m sure that Mía Maestro, an actress I admire, will understand and interpret Naty, my mother, in a unique way and I can’t wait to see her building her character,” she added.

New James Franco Casting Defended

Alina of Cuba‘s supporting cast contains a wide range of Latino actors. They include Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero (Encanto), Harding Junior, and Cuban-born actors Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez.

“The rest of the cast is going to be a wonderful surprise for all audiences,” said Fernández. She serves as a biographical and historical consultant on Alina of Cuba.

“The filmmakers worked a lot and I can’t be more grateful to them for their overall inclusive selection.”

“To me, the most important thing about this movie is that the conversation about Cuba is alive,” Fernández said. “Personally, the experience is so far too unexpected but more than anything, humbling.”

Her statements come in the wake of Primetime Emmy winner John Leguizamo expressing his objection to Franco’s casting as Castro on social media yesterday.

“How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation from Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! I don’t got a prob with Franco but he ain’t Latino!”

Alina of Cuba producer John Martinez O’Felan fired back at Leguizamo earlier Sunday saying, “I want to point out that his odd comments, if you base them on genealogy, are a blind attack and lack any factual substance”.

The film shoots entirely on location in and around Cartagena and Bogota. Colombia’s colonial Spanish architecture and design stands in for Castro-era Havana, Cuba. Production starts on August 15, 2022.