Cesar Chavez: The Only Latino-Centered Hollywood Release This Year?

Michael Peña stars as iconic civil rights leader and labor organizer Cesar Chavez.  (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Michael Peña stars as iconic civil rights leader and labor organizer Cesar Chavez.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

Reporting for Jezebel.com, Dodai Stewart highlights that director Diego Luna’s Cesar Chavez is the only Latino-centered studio film released this year. In her discussion, Stewart is referring to Jordan Zakarin’s article for The Wrap, which interviewed Luna about representations of Latinos in film and the process of getting the film made. Luna tells TheWrap:

“This community has been represented in very disrespectful ways, falling most of the time into the cliche.”

According to Luna, who has starred in the films ‘Milk’ and ‘Y Tu Mamá También’, every studio in Hollywood passed on the Cesar Chavez project. Luna, who had only directed one previous project, knew that his limited experience in directing would impact financing, but he also realized just how little Latino audiences are valued by Hollywood during this process. Luna adds:

“It’s because we haven’t sent a message as a community because we want to have our stories portrayed in cinema and celebrated,” he said. “You think about the last big hit story about a Latino, a true story? The last one, I would say, is ‘Selena,’ and there’s no film about a Latino character, a biopic, that is not a person from the entertainment business. As if we had no input in politics and science or sports or whatever. It’s ridiculous, and no one wanted to take the risk to be the first.”

Stewart adds to the discussion of Latinos in media. She writes:

“While Sofia Vergara may be the highest-paid actor on TV, Latinos face some of the worst stereotypes in entertainment and in movies; Latinas are often cast as in “spicy” overly sexualized roles or as maids. Before she died, veteran actor Lupe Ontiveros played a maid about 150 times, including Rosalita in The Goonies; actor Teresa Yenque has been on at least seven different episodes of Law & Order, playing “Cleaning Lady,” “Housekeeper,” and “Housekeeper/Nanny.” And when Eva Longoria brought a Latina-centric pilot to ABC, it was Devious Maids.”

What do you think about the lack of representation of Latinos in diverse roles in Hollywood studio releases? What will it take to change it? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read more at Jezebel or The Wrap.

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