James Franco has been cast as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in the independent film “Alina of Cuba,” Variety has confirmed.
Franco joins the previously announced Ana Villafañe, who portrays the title character Alina Fernandez, Castro’s daughter. In addition, Mía Maestro has also joined the cast as Alina’s mother Natalia Revuelta, the Cuban socialite who gave birth to her after an affair with Castro. The film will follow Alina’s life as Castro’s illegitimate daughter and a critic of his reign in Cuba before leaving the country and defecting to Spain in 1993. Franco’s casting was supported by the real life Fernandez, who is serving the production as an on-set creative and biographical consultant.
Franco’s casting comes less than a month after the announcement that the actor will appear in the post-war drama “Me, You” from British director Billie August. The films represent a return for Franco following a 2019 lawsuit against the actor alleging that he sexually exploited young women who took his acting class. The lawsuit was settled last year. Since the lawsuit, Franco has not appeared in a distributed film. The actor is repped by Anonymous Content and United Talent Agency in the U.S.
“Alina of Cuba” is directed by Miguel Bardem, based on a script written by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz. The movie is slated to begin production on Aug. 15, with the crew shooting in Colombia. The supporting cast of the film includes Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez. John Martinez O’Felan and Joe Lamy produce for Mankind Entertainment, while Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler produce for Maven Screen Media and Allen Gilmer and Rikki Rushing produce for Redbud Studios. Executive producers include Javier Gonzalez, Juan Pablo Solano, Simon Beltran, Luis Mandoki and Thaddeus D. Matula.
In addition to “Alina of Cuba,” O’Felan is also producing a companion documentary “Revolution’s Daughter,” directed by Thaddeus D. Matula. The film will shoot concurrently with “Alina of Cuba,” giving a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie and featuring interviews with the real life Fernandez.
Deadline was the first to report Franco’s casting in the upcoming film.