James Franco to Play Fidel Castro in ‘Alina of Cuba’ as Actor Stages Hollywood Comeback

The indie film is the latest of several projects Franco has booked since he faced sexual misconduct allegations in 2018

james franco fidel castro
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James Franco has landed the role of Fidel Castro in “Alina of Cuba,” an independent film about the Cuban revolutionary’s daughter, Alina Fernandez.

The project is the latest of multiple live-action films the actor has recently signed on to, ending the hiatus he took following accusations of sexual misconduct 2018 and 2019. Last month, he booked a leading role in post-World War II drama “Me, You” with Tom Hollander and Daisy Jacob.

Starring Ana Villafañe as Fernandez, “Alina of Cuba” recounts the true story of her exile from Cuba and eventual turn to social advocacy. As previously announced, Mía Maestro will play Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, the Cuban socialite whose affair with Castro resulted in the birth of their daughter.

Fernandez, who learned of her father’s identity at age 10, eventually became one of his most outspoken critics. After joined a political dissident movement, she was forbidden from traveling outside of Cuba. In 1993, she fled under disguise to Spain and ended up in the United States, where she still resides.

Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, and Cuban-born actors Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez will also co-star.

Miguel Bardem will direct from a script written by Jose Rivera and Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz.

“Alina of Cuba” joins “Me, You” and action-thriller “Mace” as one of Franco’s first onscreen roles since the final season of HBO’s “The Deuce,” in 2019. In Jan. 2018, five women accused the Oscar-nominated actor and director of sexually exploitative behavior. The following year, he was sued for sexually harassing and exploiting students at his acting school. He later settled with the two plaintiffs for $2.235 million.

John Martinez-O’Felan and Joe Lamy will produce for Austin-based indie outfit Mankind Entertainment, along with Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler for Maven Screen Media. Additional producers include husband and wife team Allen Gilmer and Rikki Rushing, founders of the Austin-based Redbud Studios. Javier Gonzalez will serve as executive producer with Bogota-based production services company Jaguar Bite and Colombian EPs Juan Pablo Solano and Simon Beltran. Luis Mandoki and Thaddeus D. Matula will also executive produce.

Production begins in Colombia on Aug. 15.

Deadline first reported the news of Franco’s casting.