OPINION | This article contains commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
Hollywood actor John Leguizamo, who rose to fame by co-starring as Luigi in the 1993 film Super Mario Bros., is lashing out about allege “cultural appropriation” in the industry.
Leguizamo was enraged over the fact that actor James Franco has been cast as Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in the upcoming film “Alina of Cuba.”
The 62-year-old actor said the casting the Franco is “f***ed up” and encouraged people to boycott the film.
“How is this still going on?” Leguizamo says in a video rant posted to Instagram. “How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation 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!” he added.
However, filmmakers have defended the decision to cast Franco who shares a similar facial structure to Castro, who was born in Cuba but of Spanish (European) descent. Franco has an ancestry that includes Portuguese, Russian, Jewish, and Swedish.
Even Castro’s daughter, Alina Fernández, defended the decision to cast James Franco because he has “an obvious physical resemblance with Fidel Castro, besides his skills and charisma.”
Leguizamo went on to complain about “brown face,” which refers to white actors who are made up to look Latin in order to play certain roles.
“Brown face in Hollywood ain’t new!” Leguizamo said. “Imagine all the Latin stars who could’ve been made in these roles!!! But we weren’t allowed. We have been the largest ethnic group in America since the birth of the Nation and the most excluded from the good and riches of our labor and sacrifice!”
He added a long list of “White actors playing Latino!” We placed this list below.
Here’s his follow-up video:
- Anthony Hopkins as El Zorro in “The Mask of Zorro”
- Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as Maria and Tony in “West Side Story” (1961)
- Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in “Argo” (2012)
- Will Ferrell as Armando in “La Casa de mi Padre” (2012)
- Jack Palance as Fidel Castro in “Che” (1969)
- Eli Wallach as Tuco in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (1966) and as Calvera in “Magnificent Seven” (1960)
- Hank Azaria as Agador in “The Birdcage” (1996)
- Marlon Brando as Emiliano Zapata in “Viva Zapata!” (1952)
- Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elena in “The Mask of Zorro” & “The Legend of Zorro” (1998 and 2005)
- Johnny Depp as Bon Bon/Lieutenant Victor in “Before Night Falls” (2000)
- Cliff Curtis as Pablo Escobar in “Blow” (2001) and as Emilio Restrepo in “Colombiana” (2011)
- Madonna as Evita in “Evita” (1996)
- Armand Assante as a Cuban in “Mambo Kings”
- Al Pacino as Tony Montana in “Scarface” (1983)
- John Turturro as Jesús in “The Big Lebowski” (1998)
- Jack Black as Nacho in “Nacho Libre” (2006)
- Ingrid Bergman as María in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943)
- Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez in “The Soloist” (2009)
- Jared Leto in Lonely Hearts as Raymond Martínez (2006)
- Pacino in Carlito’s Way 1993
- Marisa Tomei in The Perez Family
- Barry Miller in Fame movie playing Puerto Rican kid named Ralph