Hollywood stars playing major historical figures is nothing new, but this casting is one of the stranger casting choices.
Oscar nominee James Franco will play Cuban leader Fidel Castro in a biopic titled 'Alina of Cuba', which follows the life of Castro's exiled daughter.
The film tells the story of Alina Fernandez, the daughter of Fidel Castro, who later became a vocal critic of her fathers reign in Cuba and ultimately defecting to Spain in the 1990s.
The casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro has certainly raised eyebrows, but the casting has the blessing of Fernandez, who is serving as an on-set creative advisor to the film.
Fernandez learned that she was Fidel Castro’s daughter at the age of 10 when her mother revealed that the Cuban leader was her biological father.
Fernandez will be played by Ana Villafañe, who played pop icon Gloria Estefan on Broadway in the musical 'On Your Feet!'
The film will be written by Jose Rivera, who wrote 'The Motorcycle Diaries' which followed a young Che Guevara, and Nilo Cruz, a Pultizer prize-winning playwright.
John Martinez O’Felan, the project’s lead creative producer discussed the casting of Franco as Castro, telling Deadline Hollywood “finding and convincing James Franco to play Castro, was a fun and challenging process and has been the collaborative work of the universe, 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."
"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 Franco by far, had the closest facial likeness of the industry's leading actors"
Online reaction to the casting has been mainly negative, with Twitter quick to suggest alternate castings instead of Franco.