James Franco is the new “El Comandante.”
The scandal-scarred actor is looking to make a splash in Hollywood by taking on the role of Fidel Castro, the former communist leader of Cuba.
The casting in “Alina of Cuba” marks one of the first major roles in years for the Golden Globe winner, whose career took a tumble when he was accused of sexual misconduct allegations by five women in 2018.
The upcoming biopic, helmed by Miguel Bardem, will document the life of Alina Fernandez, Castro’s exiled daughter who didn’t know she was the dictator’s child until age 10.
In an interview with Deadline, the film’s producers claimed to convince Franco to take on the role was “the collaborative work of the universe.” Execs said they wanted Castro to be played by someone “who holds a close physical resemblance to the real Castro.”
“To get there on such a tough look to cast, we used Fidel Castro’s ancient Galician heraldry as our focal compass, and then combed through the entire ranks of actors with Latin roots in Hollywood to find someone who has a similar facial structure,” producer John Martinez O’Felan told the outlet.Franco reportedly got the role in part due to his “Latin roots.”Kevin Winter/Getty Images
The creative choice is sure to spark some backlash, given the “127 Hours” actor’s recent retreat from the limelight.
In June 2021, Franco settled a sexual misconduct lawsuit for $2.2 million after he and business partner Vince Jolivette were accused of engaging “in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects” at the acting school the pair once operated.The actor has come under fire in the past for allegations of sexual misconduct. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner
In addition to being accused of sexual misconduct by five women in 2018, the “Disaster Artist” director also previously made headlines for trying to arrange a meet-up with a 17-year-old girl at a New York hotel in 2014.
After the scandal broke, Franco admitted the messages were legitimate and apologized, saying he was “embarrassed” and had “used bad judgment.”
“The Interview” actor’s resurgence additionally includes his new role in Bille August’s post-World War II drama “Me, You”, which he announced his role in last month.