Jennifer Lawrence, of “Hunger Games” fame, is set to play a real-life girlfriend of the late Fidel Castro in “Marita,” a film bought up by Sony earlier this year — but which Hollywood, naturally, can’t wait to release.
The former Cuban dictator has been dead less than a week — yet even before his passing, Hollywood put a film about Castro into development. The project, a pitch from screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (“American Hustle”), is said by The Hollywood Reporter to be looking at a late 2017 release date — an indication the film will be shooting for Oscar glory.
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“Marita” will follow the experiences of Marita Lorenz, a woman who began an affair with Castro in 1959 at the age of 19. According to her autobiographies, Lorenz lived with Castro until she left Cuba and joined anti-communist movements. She was then recruited by the CIA for an assassination attempt on Castro, but allegedly gave up on the idea in light of her love for the murderous dictator — even informing him of her plans.
Some of Lorenz’s claims have come into question over the years — for example, she insisted at one point to be involved in a JFK assassination attempt — but what will be more interesting is how Hollywood artists choose to treat this story about Castro.
While many Americans clearly saw the dictator for what he was — a murderer who turned Cuba into a prison — much of Hollywood saw him quite differently. Castro had many friends in Tinseltown, people who visited him and defended him often, including Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, and Danny Glover.
A film about Castro from Hollywood could go any way. Likely, with the story it’s chosen to tell and the lack of criticism of dictatorships and communist regimes in the past, “Marita” will be a heartfelt look at the man that may end up being a glowing review of his leadership.
With Castro now dead and gone, more and more film projects are likely to pop up that will seek to rewrite the dictator’s history — or at least cast it in the best possible light. Instead of honest depictions of the struggles of scores of desperate people under the Castro regime, we will likely get films looking back on Cuban history with rose-colored, hallucinatory glasses. How “Marita” will end up remains to be seen — but the signs so far are not good.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed the movie was in a bidding war before being picked up by Sony and may be looking to actually film in Cuba. “Fast & Furious 8” is also hoping to film in the country soon, since embargoes have been lifted by President Obama.
Lawrence will next star in the Sony project “Passengers,” to be released on Dec. 21.