- John Leguizamo told Insider that a white actor once took on his role because of an “unspoken Latin quota.”
- He said he was told by a director that he “can’t have two Hispanic people in the movie”, which already had a Latina star.
- Leguizamo recently called the lack of Hispanic voices in Hollywood “cultural apartheid.”
John Leguizamo revealed to Insider that he once lost a Latin American character’s game purely because a director didn’t want more than one Latin American actor in his movie.
“This one director wanted me to be in his movie,” Leguizamo recalled to Insider while promoting his upcoming movie “Violent Night,” adding, “He said, ‘I love your work, I want you in the movie .’ And then I hear something from him He calls me up and says, ‘Oh, sorry man, you can’t be in my movie because I already have a Hispanic actress and I can’t put two Hispanic people in the have a movie. .””
“There was this unspoken Latin quota, if you had too many Latin people in your movie it was a bad thing,” said Leguizamo. “And the thing is the man, the real man that the character I was going to play was based on was really Latin.”
Leguizamo declined to reveal the name of the film or the director involved.
But the 62-year-old actor, who is known for blockbusters like “Moulin Rouge!”, “John Wick” and “Encanto,” added that this isn’t the first time he’s witnessed casting directors deliberately favoring white actors over Latin actors. – even if the roles were originally intended to be played by Latin stars.
“There were other instances where I would get the part and originally the story had a lot more Hispanic people in it, and then they put white guys in and I’m the only Hispanic guy representing,” he told Insider.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new for Leguizamo. In fact, the “Carlito’s Way” star recently expressed anger at Hollywood’s lack of Hispanic voices. open letter to the industry he wrote for the Los Angeles Times.
“The Latino population is larger than the white population in California, and yet we are not represented accordingly. That is cultural apartheid,” Leguizamo wrote. “In New York, the Latino population is equal to the white population, but you’d never know if you watch local TV or read our newspapers and magazines. The stats are on our side, but the system isn’t.”
Leguizamo told Insider that since his open letter, he’s heard from “directors, writers, white, Latin, black and Asian” who were “proud that I was speaking out.” But the lack of meaningful change is still frustrating, especially since there’s plenty of evidence that audiences will turn up for Latin stories.
“That’s why ‘Encanto’ is crazy because it was the No. 1 movie in the world, what more proof do you need?” he said, referring to the 2021 Disney animated movie. “I don’t see a green light for those projects. Green light for the damn things.’