Producer John Martinez O'Felan slams John Leguizamo's 'blind attack' on James Franco's Castro role

'Alina of Cuba' producer stated that John Leguizamo should 'move past himself' and support the project which tells an important story


                            Producer John Martinez O'Felan slams John Leguizamo's 'blind attack' on James Franco's Castro role
John Leguizamo (IMDb), James Franco (Taylor Hill/Getty Images)) and John Martinez O'Felan (Instagram/ofelan333)
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There have been numerous debates on representation in Hollywood. Communities like LGBTQ+, Hispanics, and other minorities have been struggling for years now in order to get roles that are closer to who they really are. However, with the fascination of having big names in their movies, the production houses tend to forget about the aforementioned communities. One such incident happened when it was announced that James Franco will be playing the role of Fidel Castro in the upcoming movie ‘Alina of Cuba’. As soon as the news surfaced online, popular Colombia-born actor John Leguizamo slammed the makers for casting a White man to play the Cuban revolutionary.

However, it seems the makers of the movie are not happy with Leguizamo’s comments and broke their silence on the matter. Producer Martinez O’Felan slammed the actor for his “uneducated” remarks and called them a “blind attack”. For the uninitiated, the ‘John Wick’ star took to Instagram on Friday to slam the decision to cast Franco and questioned Hollywood about why the industry is trying to “exclude” the Latinx community. He also said that he is “boycotting” the upcoming movie.

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Leguizamo added, “How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation of Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up!”

John Leguizamo attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
John Leguizamo attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

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A lot of celebrities from the Latinx community supported Leguizamo’s remarks and shared their disappointment on social media.

Almost a day after the whole scenario erupted on social media, producer O’Felan released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter and noted that his comments had “zero substance”. He added, “A guy like John Leguizamo has historically been looked up to by Hispanics as one of America’s earliest actors of Latin descent since the 90s and I’ve always admired him as a fellow underdog. But his comments are culturally uneducated and a blind attack with zero substance related to this project.”

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Actor James Franco attends IFP's 27th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on November 27, 2017 in New York City.
Actor James Franco attends IFP's 27th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on November 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for IFP)

The producer also stated that Leguizamo’s “note is a great talking point because they represent the same confusion and identity crisis in Hollywood right now within the Hispanic community.” O’Felan requested Leguizamo to “move past himself” and acknowledge the movie that’s all about a Latin female immigrant in the USA.

“He should also understand that it’s kind of disappointing to see our work getting attacked by someone who claims to be a leader of the Latin community,” O’Felan concluded.

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Ana Villafañe attends the Public Theater's 2021 annual Gala at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on September 20, 2021 in New York City.
Ana Villafañe attends the Public Theater's 2021 annual Gala at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on September 20, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

‘Alina of Cuba’ tells the exceptional real story about a woman named Alina Fernandez living in the US originally hailing from Cuba. At the age of 10, her entire life changes when she gets to know that she is the daughter of the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro. The Cuban descent Ana Villafane is playing the role of Alina Fernandez in the movie while actors from several communities are a part of the movie. Other actors to feature in the movie include Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, Sian Chiong, and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez.

The movie is scheduled to start filming later this month.

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