The Encanto star took to Instagram on Friday and blasted reports that the embattled actor landed the role even though "he ain't Latino!" The 62-year-old actor and comedian wondered how the Latinx community continues to be invisible when Hollywood has supposedly made so much progress since he first broke into the business.
"How is this still going on?" he asked. "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!"
Alina of Cuba tells the story of Alina Fernandez, Castro's illegitimate daughter who was critical of Castro's reign in Cuba. She would ultimately defect to Spain in the early 1990s. Ana Villafañe is set to portray Fernandez, who supported Franco being cast as Castro. According to Variety, Fernandez will serve as an on-set creative and biographical consultant.
Leguizamo, who back in January admitted going to great lengths in order to land roles in Hollywood, was not the only one who took issue with the news. Top Gun: Maverick actor Danny Ramirez also subtweeted an article reporting the news and wrote, "What the f**k."
Leguizamo blasted the Franco news just days after telling the Los Angeles Times that even he can't break through Hollywood's glass ceiling because "it's made out of plexiglass and it's bulletproof, and you can't get past it."
It's also not the first time Leguizamo has blasted a film for its lack of representation. Nearly a year ago, Leguizamo criticized the reboot to his 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film. At the time, he tweeted, "So glad #superMariobros is getting a reboot! Obviously it’s iconic enuff. But too bad they went all white! No Latinx in the leads! Groundbreaking color-blind casting in original! Plus I’m the only one who knows how to make this movie work script wise!"
The animated film's cast includes Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Kevin Michael Richardson, Fred Armisen and Sebastian Maniscalco. The original Mario voice actor, Charles Martinet, will also have a cameo in the film that's slated for a 2023 release.
Franco is far from the only actor in Hollywood for taking heat over being cast as a Latinx figure. Javier Bardem got similar treatment when he was cast as Cuban-born Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos. Bardem, born in Spain, swung back at those critics in a profile for The Hollywood Reporter.
"I'm an actor and that's what I do for a living, try to be people that I'm not," he explained. "What do we do with Marlon Brando playing Vito Corleone? What do we do with Margaret Thatcher played by Meryl Streep? Daniel Day-Lewis playing Lincoln? Why does this conversation happen with people with accents. You have your accent. That's where you belong. That's tricky."
Alina of Cuba is the second film Franco has landed in as many months. Less than a month ago, it was announced that Franco is set to star in the coming-of-age period drama Me, You, some four years after stepping out of the spotlight amid controversy.