James Franco Cast as Late Dictator Fidel Castro
The film will center around the life of Alina Fernandez—who will be played by Ana Villafañe—Castro's daughter and anti-communist activist, who was born from a passionate love affair between the late Cuban leader and Natalia Revuelta, Deadline reports.
According to the film's creative producer, finding an actor that resembled Castro was a challenge as they aimed to make the project as inclusive and accurate as possible.
"Finding and convincing James Franco to play Castro, was a fun and challenging process and has been the collaborative work of the universe," O'Felan said. "Because our director's original order was to find an actor who holds a close physical resemblance to the real Castro to build from, along with finding someone Alina Fernandez would strongly endorse."
He added, "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. In executing a close search into our hopefuls through the eye of Spanish and Portuguese genealogy which the Galicians held, we found that James, by far, had the closest facial likeness of our Industry's leading actors, meaning that the focus would be to build out his character accent and we'd have a stunning on-screen match to intrigue audiences and bring the story to life with true visual integrity. Altogether, working with such a supportive and exciting cast has been a true blessing to our team and project."
Revuelta was a former Cuban-born socialite who helped Castro fund the revolution with her and her husband's personal finances. Eventually, her other daughter and husband had to flee Cuba after his medical clinic was shut down.
Fernandez, who eventually became one of Castro's greatest critics, found out about her mother's relationship with El Comandante when she was 10 years old.
She was classified as a dissident, arrested several times, and forbidden to travel outside of Cuba until she defected to Spain in 1993.
The screenplay was written by Oscar-nominated Jose Rivera and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz. The cast will include Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez.
To resemble Cuba's colonial architecture, the project will be filmed in Cartagena, Colombia.