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James Franco to portray late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Aline of Cuba for filmmaker Miguel Bardem

James Franco plays late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Aline of Cuba for filmmaker Miguel Bardem

James Franco has been cast as the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in director Miguel Bardem’s upcoming film Aline of Cuba.

The Oscar-nominated actor, 44, will be joined in the cast by actress Mía Maestro, 47, who will play the role of socialite Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, who was once Castro’s mistress, Deadline reported Thursday.

The pair join actress Ana Villafañe, 33, in the cast as she plays Alina Fernandez – the daughter of Castro and Revuelta – in the film.

The latest: James Franco, 44, has been cast as the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in director Miguel Bardem's upcoming film Aline of Cuba.  The actor was caught in Italy in June

Producers said Franco's resemblance to Castro was a factor in casting the role

The latest: James Franco, 44, has been cast as the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in director Miguel Bardem’s upcoming film Aline of Cuba. The actor was caught in Italy in June

The film – scripted by Jose Rivera and Nilo Cruz – will depict the life story of Fernandez, a Cuban exile and social activist.

When she was 10, Fernandez discovered she was Castro’s daughter when her mother revealed the truth to her after Castro spent years secretly visiting the family home. Revuelta had given her and her doctor husband’s wealth to fund the early stages of the communist revolution.

Fernandez eventually became an anti-communist activist who was arrested multiple times for her attempts to leave Cuba and banned from traveling outside the country. Fernandez defected to Spain in 1993 and eventually settled in Miami.

The film will begin on August 15 in the Colombian cities of Cartagena and Bogota, according to the outlet.

Actress Mía Maestro, 47, will play socialite Natalia

Actress Mía Maestro, 47, will play socialite Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, Castro’s former mistress. She was caught in LA in 2020

Ana Villafañe, 33, will play the role of Alina Fernandez in the film.  She was photographed in NYC in 2020

Ana Villafañe, 33, will play the role of Alina Fernandez in the film. She was photographed in NYC in 2020

Producer John Martinez O’Felan told Deadline that “Finding and convincing James Franco to play Castro was a fun and challenging process and the collaborative work of the universe because our director’s original brief was to be an actor.” with a close physical resemblance to the real Castro to build on, along with finding someone who would strongly support Alina Fernandez.

“To come up with such a tough look, we used Fidel Castro’s old Galician heraldry as our focal compass and then scoured the entire line of actors with Latin roots in Hollywood to find someone with a similar facial structure.”

O’Felan said that after an extensive search “for our hopeful peoples through the eye of the Spanish and Portuguese genealogies that the Galicians had,” Franco turned out to “be most like the leading actors of our industry, meaning the focus would lie on to build out his character accent and we would have a stunning on-screen match to intrigue the audience and bring the story to life with true visual integrity.”

He said casting Villafañe and Maestro was “no-brainers because, in addition to the trajectory of their earlier work, one represents modern Cuban America and the other Argentina.”

O’Felan told the outlet that the focus of the project is to “produce an artistic piece of modern Spanish history, with the vision for the project as truly inclusive by uniting actors and creatives of both intergenerational and recent Latin roots from the US, Latin America and the world.’

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