James Franco will play Fidel Castro for his return to the cinema

James Franco will play Fidel Castro for his return to the cinema

HAVANA, Aug. 5th ‘127 Hours’ star James Franco is set to take his fans back in time as he has been signed to play the role of Cuban revolutionary turned politician Fidel Castro in Miguel Bardem’s ‘Alina of Cuba’.Actress Mia Maestro will play Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, the Cuban-born socialite he has a passionate love affair with, reports ‘Deadline’. They join previously announced actress Ana Villafane who is portraying Alina Fernandez aka Castro’s Daughter.

Fidel Castro is one of the most prominent figures in world history. He led the armed Cuban revolution along with his fellow revolutionaries of the 26th of July Movement and its allies against the military dictatorship of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista.

The revolution, which began in July 1953, continued sporadically until the rebels finally ousted Batista on 31 December 1958, replacing his government. 26 July 1953 is celebrated in Cuba as Dia de la Revolucion (revolution day).

According to ‘Deadline,’ the screenplay of ‘Alina of Cuba’ has been written by Oscar-nominated scribe Jose Rivera and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz. It follows the true-life story of Cuban exile turned social advocate, Fernandez, whose birth was the result of the tryst between Revuelta and Castro.

Revuelta sacrificed her and her physician husband’s personal belongings and finances to help fund the start of the communist revolution. Fernandez learned that she was Fidel Castro’s daughter at the age of 10 when after years of secret visits to her home, her mother finally revealed that “El Comandante” was her biological father.

Alina grew to become one of Castro’s most outspoken critics, arrested on more than one occasion for trying to leave, and was classified as a dissident forbidden to travel outside of Cuba. Ultimately, she defected to Spain in 1993, an event that drew headlines from every major news network around the world, before she made Miami her permanent home.

‘Deadline’ further states that rounding out the supporting cast are Alanna de la Rosa, Maria Cecilia Botero, Harding Junior, and Cuban-born actors Sian Chiong and Rafael Ernesto Hernandez.

The movie is being shot entirely on location in and around Cartagena and Bogota, with Colombia’s colonial Spanish architecture and design playing for Castro-era Havana, Cuba. Cameras roll on August 15.

John Martinez O’Felan, the project’s lead creative producer of Austin-based Mankind Entertainment, said in a statement accessed by ‘Deadline’, “Since the inception of the film, our focus has been to produce an artistic piece of modern Hispanic history, with the vision for the project as being truly inclusive through uniting actors and creatives from both intergenerational and recent Latin roots from the US, Latin America, and the world.”

“That said, casting Ana and Mia were no-brainers because, besides the trajectory of their past work, one represents modern Cuban-America and the other Argentina. After watching Ana’s reel and auditioning her, it became evident she was perfectly suited and had a great voice to carry the material, and Mia’s work in the past with Jose spoke for itself and screamed writer/actress reunion,” he added.