Title Alina from Cuba: La Hija Rebelde (which translates to “Alina of Cuba: The Rebellious Daughter”), the biopic will focus on the daughter of the late Cuban leader Alina Fernández, with a storyline of Oscar-nominated screenwriter José Rivera and Pulitzer winner Nilo Cruz, Deadline reports.
Arthur Holmes/Getty; Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty John Leguizamo (L); James Franco
In a Friday Instagram PostLeguizamo, 58, wrote, “How does this continue? How does Hollywood exclude us but also steal our stories? No more Hollywood and streamer appropriation! Boycott! It’s screwed!”
“Also, a very difficult story to tell without enlargement, which would be wrong! I have no problem with Franco, but he’s not a Latino!” continues the actor.
Franco, 44, is of Portuguese and Swedish descent on his father Doug Franco’s side, while his mother, Betsy Franco, is of Russian Jewish descent.
Representatives for Franco did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Never miss a story – subscribe to Free PEOPLE Daily Newsletter to stay up to date on the best that PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to gripping human interest stories.
Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images; Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress James Franco (L); Fidel Castro
According to Deadline, Ana Villafañe will play Fernandez in the film, while Mía Maestro will play Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, who Castro had an affair with and who was Fernández’s mother.
Alina from Cuba “Follows the true story of Cuban exile turned social advocate, Fernández, whose birth was the result of Revuelta and Castro’s tryst,” according to Deadline. The film will be shot from August 15 in Cartagena and Bogotá, Colombia, reports the media.
Leguizamo, meanwhile, has been outspoken in the past that it’s still hard to get Hollywood involved in Latinx representation.
“Were less than 1% of stories told by Hollywood and the media and streaming networks when we represent almost 20% of the population, 25% of the American box office,” said the Romeo + Juliet the actor told PEOPLE in 2020. “I just feel like it’s so damaging for kids not to see themselves reflected in a positive way.”
Leguizamo, who was born in Colombia, began writing his own material early in his career, resulting in critically acclaimed stage performances like the 1990s. Mambo Mouth1992 Spic-O-Rama1998 Freak and most recently 2016 Latin history for morons. They all satirized Latino stereotypes through the actor’s own life experiences and aimed to teach audiences more about his community.
“When you see yourself represented, you feel validated. You feel like you have a chance. I think a lot of my career has been driven by that,” said the Critical mind the director told PEOPLE to fight for latino representation. “Growing up in America, they don’t talk about Latin writers or teach Latin history or accomplishments. Negatively, it has a negative effect on other communities watching us, who don’t know what we’ve done. “
Reports of Franco’s involvement in Alina from Cuba come less than a month after it was announced that he had been cast in the coming-of-age drama Me you, marking his return to the game four years after facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Hollywood Reporter said earlier this month that Franco was also starring in the upcoming action flick mass. Her most recent roles include voice character in the 2019 film arctic dogs and the third and final season of HBO The devil that same year.
RELATED VIDEO: James Franco Opens Up About Non-Existing Relationship With Seth Rogen, ‘The Absolute Closest Friend From Work’
At the time, a lawyer for Franco denied each of the allegations and cited the actor in 2018 comments on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as his formal disclaimer: “The things I’ve heard on Twitter aren’t accurate, but I totally support people who come out and can have a voice because they haven’t had a voice for so long. So I don’t want to, you know, shut them down in any way.”
Last year Franco reached an agreement with Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal — two of his former theater students who filed a sexual misconduct complaint against him in 2019. Los Angeles Superior Court records indicate he agreed to pay $2,235,000 in settlement.