You know, its just not fair. Man, maybe Public Enemy had it right when it proudly proclaimed to Burn Hollywood Burn. In the hopes of not sounding like a broken record, there is a huge reason to boycott and discuss the industry's lack of hiring actors of color in major motion pictures. Like I said in my EL PICKET SIGN entry, people of color make up a huge demographic of the buying power when it comes to movie going, yet we are invisible in front of the camera. Apparently we are so invisible that when a credible Latino role does surface in a studio film, a leading role in fact, Hollywood then practices non traditional casting by hiring a Brit to play a Chicano.
In the new British actor Charlie Hunnam has been cast in the lead of "American Drug Lord," a film based on the life of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a Mexican American drug lord.
This insensitive and clearly ignorant casting practice is not by any means new. Hollywood has been white washing Latino roles for decades. Denying hard working US Latinos for decades, this has always been a huge conflict for to deal with when I was pursuing a career for the 90's and 2000's. When leading Latino roles of merit came up, studios and casting directors specifically called in only "fair skinned, European featured," actors for US Latino roles. "A Walk in Clouds," from the 90s was one I remember none of us Latino actors could get into the door for audition. Now with Mr Hunnam being cast as a fair skinned Chicano, as Villarreal is well, is speaks to the long history of racism and ignorant casting policies of the Hollywood machine. But please don't take my word for it. Numbers don't lie. I complied a very short list down below I think you should see.
Since I was born in 1970 here are some major leading roles of Latino characters not played by Latino actors. We talking feature films not TV or cable which has faired much better as of late but also has a checkered past when casting Latino actors in leading or supporting roles. See you on down the road.
Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)
Lou Diamond Philips as Ritchie Valens in La Bamba.(1988)
Ethan Hawke as Fernando “Nando” Parrado in Alive. (1993)
Armand Assante ins The Mambo Kings. (1992)
Madonna as Evita in Evita.(1996) Golden Globe Winner, Best Actress.
Hank Azaria as Agador in The Birdcage.(1996) SAG Awards Winner, Best Cast Ensemble.
John Turturro as Jesús in the Big Lebowski.(1998)
Marisa Tomei as Dorita Evita Perez in the Perez Family.(1995.)
Anthony Hopkins as Don Diego de la Vega in the Mask of Zorro.(1998)
Jennifer Connelly as Alicia(Lardé )Nashin A Beautiful Mind.(2001) Oscar Winner, Best Supporting Actress.
Cliff Curtis as Pablo Escobar in Blow.(2001)
Jennifer Esposito as Ria in Crash.(2004)
Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez in The Soloist.(2009)
Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo(20012) Oscar Winner, Best Picture.