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When White Actors Stop Getting All The Good Latino Roles, Maybe We’ll Stop Complaining

Did you know that in 2013, less than 5 percent of movie roles went to Latino actors?

Damon replied:

Brown’s reaction said it all.

So, Matt Damon, if diversity is achieved through casting, why did your pal Ben Affleck cast himself as Tony Mendez in Argo?

Credit: Warner Bros.

In 2012, Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez, the central character in Argo. Affleck caught plenty of flak for casting himself, and not a Latino actor, in the role. When asked about the decision to play Mendez, Affleck said:

“You know, I obviously went to Tony and sought his approval…was the first thing. And Tony does not have, I don’t know what you would say, a Latin/Spanish accent, of any kind really, and… you know you wouldn’t necessarily select him out of a line of ten people and go ‘This guy’s Latino.’ So I didn’t feel as though I was violating some thing, where, here’s this guy who’s clearly ethnic in some way and it’s sort of being whitewashed by Ben Affleck the actor. I felt very comfortable that if Tony was cool with it, I was cool with it.”

Ben Affleck isn’t the first white actor to play a Latino in a movie. He probably won’t be the last.

Credit: Disney

Let’s go back in time… this has been happening for DECADES.

1939: Paul Muni in Juarez

Credit: Warner Bros.

Muni played Mexican president Benito Juarez in a film that also starred Bette Davis as Carlota of Mexico.

1952: Marlon Brando in Viva Zapata!

1961: Natalie Wood in West Side Story

Credit: United Artists

Although Puerto Rican actor Rita Moreno won an Oscar for the role of Anita, white actor Natalie Wood played the Puerto Rican character Maria.

1969: Jack Palance in Che! 

Credit: 2oth Century Fox

Jack Palance, on the right, played Fidel Castro. That’s Omar Sharif as Che Guevara.

1989: Armand Assante in The Mambo Kings

 

Credit: Warner Bros.

Assante, an Italian actor, was tasked with playing a Cuban musician named Cesar Castillo.

1993: Ethan Hawke in Alive

Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

Hawke played Nando Parrado in Alive, the true story of an Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes and were forced to take drastic measures to survive.

1995: Marisa Tomei in The Perez Family

Credit: The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Tomei played Dorita Evita Perez, a Cuban refugee who makes it to the US in the Mariel boatlift.

1996: Madonna in Evita

Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

In this musical, Madonna was cast to play Argentine First Lady Eva Perón.

1996: Hank Azaria in The Birdcage

2001: Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind

Credit: Universal Pictures

Connelly played John Nash’s wife, Alicia, who was from El Salvador.

But that only happened in the old days, when there were no Latino actors to choose from, right? WRONG.

2011, Carey Mulligan in Drive

Credit: FilmDistrict

The character of Irene was written as a young Latina, but director Nicolas Winding Refn cast Carey Mulligan instead. He told The Huffington Post:

“I couldn’t find any actress that would click with me personally. I couldn’t make a decision for some reason. I had all this talent in front of me and out of the blue I get a call from Carey because she wanted to meet me about doing a movie. She came by the house and she walked in and I realized, ‘Oh my God, this is what I was looking for.’ I wanted to protect her … And I knew that was the Driver’s motivation.”

And one more time, for emphasis: Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in 2012’s ARGO.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

So what were you saying about diversity and casting, Matt Damon?

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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Cast Of ‘In The Heights’ Want You To Know The Importance Of Going To College

Entertainment

Cast Of ‘In The Heights’ Want You To Know The Importance Of Going To College

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights is finally coming to the big screen, and it has a star-studded cast to make it happen! Joined by Quiara Alegría Hudes – who wrote the book for the musical – and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu, Miranda amplifies the musical’s poignant narrative about community and pursuing your dreams with stunning visuals and tons of amazing music inspired by the rich Latinx culture of Washington Heights.

Ahead of the film’s opening at the Tribeca Film Festival, Lin-Manuel Miranda and several members of the cast join Maria Hinojosa for a poignant discussion on what the film means to them and the importance of going to college no matter who you are or where your come from.

Cast members share their own very unique experiences of growing up and making it into college.

Maria Hinojosa of Latino USA on NPR is joined by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Leslie Grace (who plays ‘Nina’), and Corey Hawkins, all of whom share their unique and profound experiences with deciding on if they would go to college and what they went through to get there.

So many of us are first or second generation college students, reaping the benefits of the hard work put in by our parents and abuelos to help us achieve our dreams. But not all of us share the same path to university, something made very clear as each of these In The Heights cast members make very clear with their own journeys.

Lin-Manuel acknowledges his own privilege on his path to university and how it influenced the film.

Manuel says that he had an advantage in his journey, thanks to his parents who really helped cultivate that desire for learning from a young age. He was able to attend a prestigious private school as a child but even then recognized a duality within him existed – going as Lin at school (in a predominantly white space) and Lin-Manuel back at home.

Upon going to college at Wesleyan University, Manuel met and made Latino friends, a lot of whom were first from their families to go to college. Many didn’t get the same crash course in code switching that he did from a younger age, so for many of his peers it was tough for them to adjust to college life.

By the end of his first year in college, his roommates at the Latino program house shrunk from eight other members to just four. This struggle and conflict with their time in college and their Latinx identity is reflected in the character Nina and her own struggle with returning to her home in Washington Heights.

For Quiara, the story of Nina’s journey is particularly personal.

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes’ parents were also leaders in their community. Her father was a prominent businessman while her mother was an activist in her community. But unlike Manuel, her parents didn’t attend university, it wasn’t something that was on their path. She points out that “it wasn’t that they didn’t treasure learning, it’s just that university wasn’t part of that path.”

Quiara – who attended Yale – says that she was very conflicted as a half Latina and half white woman even though she had often grown up in white spaces. However, she wasn’t prepared for being in a space with so few Latinos. She had to learn how to merge those two parts of her life that she felt were drifting further and further apart.

The cast discusses ‘imposter syndrome’ and how to fight it.

Imposter syndrome is very real. And it can often affect those of us who feel like we don’t deserve our achievements or recognition. Maria asks the cast to how they overcame it and how they learned to own their space.

Leslie Grace reminds us that “you have a story only you can tell and you need to tap into your feelings of potential.”

Check out the full trailer for In The Heights below.

The festival’s opening night screening will be held on June 9 at the United Palace theater in Washington Heights. For the first time ever, Tribeca’s inaugural film will be screened simultaneously across all five boroughs in multiple open-air venues.

Following the opening night of Tribeca, “In the Heights” will debut in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service on June 11. It was originally scheduled to be released last year, but Warner Bros. postponed its release due to the pandemic.

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