John Leguizamo Recalls The Messed-Up Reason He Lost A Role To A White Actor

John Leguizamo is talking out concerning the discrimination he’s confronted all through his profession and continues to expertise.

In an interview revealed Wednesday, the American actor and comic of Colombian-Puerto Rican descent advised Insider about an “unspoken Latin quota” in Hollywood — the assumption that there could be too many Latino folks in a movie.

“This one director wanted me to be in his movie,” Leguizamo advised the outlet, not naming the director. “He said, ‘I love your work, I want you in the movie.’ And then I hear back from him. He calls me up, and he says, ‘Oh, sorry man, you can’t be in my movie because I already have a Latin actress and I can’t have two Latin people in the movie.’”

“And the thing is the guy, the real guy that the character I was to play was based on, was really Latin.”

The “Encanto” solid on the movie’s world premiere in 2021: Angie Cepeda, Rhenzy Feliz, Jessica Darrow, María Cecilia Botero, Stephanie Beatriz, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Wilmer Valderrama, Mauro Castillo, Carolina Gaitán, Adassa, John Leguizamo and Diane Guerrero.

Jesse Grant through Getty Pictures

The Golden Globe winner additionally advised Insider about different situations the place he’s gotten a job in a movie with quite a few Latino characters — however they’re all performed by “white guys,” and he’s “the only Latin guy representing.”

Earlier this month, the “Carlito’s Way” actor wrote an open letter to Hollywood revealed within the Los Angeles Instances. In his letter, Leguizamo expressed his anger with the dearth of Latin voices in fashionable media.

“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 would never know it if you watched local TV or read our newspapers and magazines. The metrics are on our side, but the system is not.”

He described Latinos in his letter as “born in Latin America. Not Spain, nor anywhere else in Europe. Those are white peoples.” He additionally wrote brazenly about how Latinos are discriminated towards in his business.

“You can be as talented as Marlon Brando or Ingrid Bergman, you can write like William Shakespeare or Arthur Miller, you can have the screen presence of Ryan Gosling or Jennifer Lawrence,” he wrote. “But if you look Latino, or if you have a Latino last name, the odds are against you in Hollywood.”

Leguizamo advised Insider that he thinks Hollywood ought to embrace extra Latino-led tasks. He used the success of his 2021 Disney movie “Encanto,” an animated function that came about in Colombia and featured a largely Latino solid, as a chief instance.

“That’s why ‘Encanto’ is crazy because it was the No. 1 movie in the world, what more proof do you need?” he stated. “I’m not seeing the greenlights of those projects. Greenlight the goddamn things.”