Catherine Zeta-Jones has recently been in the headlines after being accused of whitewashing Latino culture for her role as Griselda Blanco on Lifetime's Cocaine Godmother.
The Welsh actress was cast to play the late drug lord, a pioneer in the Miami cocaine drug trade during the 1970s and early 1980s. Of course, many took to Twitter to address the lack of a Latina chosen for the role.
— Andre (@AllHailZeus) January 20, 2018
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the 48-year-old responded to backlash over her casting in the movie. "This is just the way I see it, and people can take what they want from it: I am a Welsh actress, who doesn’t happen to look like what you think someone from Wales would look like. I have my own language; I speak Welsh. And so, for me to wait for a role that is fit for the way I look physically, that is not a Welsh role, where I don’t use my accent ― I never use my accent. Have you ever heard me use my accent that I’m speaking with right now?" Zeta-Jones told the new outlet.
The actress, who received an Oscar for her performance in Chicago, supported her case by reminding people she had portrayed Latinas in movies several times. “This happens to be the third Hispanic I’ve played. I played the lead in Zorro, and I screen-tested with six Hispanic women, and I got the role. I don’t know what to say. And I was a complete unknown at this point; it wasn’t because I had a name or box-office value. Four of the actresses are my contemporaries to this day. I played a woman of Spanish descent in Traffic as well. I have to take [the roles] I believe I can embody. I can’t be the person to fight against a very big issue, and I won’t take on that role. There have been so many actors who have played ‘against type.’ That’s sort of what we do.”
As a woman in Hollywood, Zeta-Jones hopes to see more opportunities for women and people of color behind the camera. “I’m all for diversity, and diversity across the board. Not just color, race, sex — everything. I want to see more diversity behind the camera. This is a white man’s business, and now, hard to believe after all of these years, we’re finally trying to break that glass ceiling.”
Check out the trailer below.