EXCLUSIVE: Cuban American actress Ana Villafañe has landed the lead role in the indie feature Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde from Mankind Entertainment and Maven Pictures. She will portray Fidel Castro’s daughter and anti-communism activist, Alina Fernandez.
Alina of Cuba is based on the true-life story of Fernandez, a Cuban American immigrant and human rights advocate whose birth was the result of a passionate love affair between Castro and Natalia “Naty” Revuelta. Revuelta, a Cuban-born socialite, sacrificed her and her physician husband’s personal belongings and finances to help fund the revolution.
Fernandez learned of her connection to Castro at the age of 10: when after years of secret visits to her home, she was finally told by her mother that “El Comandante” was her biological father. Fernandez and her mother stayed in Cuba after the former’s stepfather and her sister fled to the U.S. after his medical clinic was shut down.
Fernandez eventually became one of Castro’s most outspoken critics; she was arrested on more than one occasion for trying to leave and classified as a dissident forbidden to travel outside of Cuba. She defected to Spain in 1993 and later made Miami her permanent home.
The biopic will shoot in Cartagena, Colombia this summer with Goya Award-winner Miguel Bardem set as director.
Alina of Cuba, formerly known as Castro’s Daughter, is written by Academy Award nominee Jose Rivera, and Pulitzer prize winner Nilo Cruz. The project is executive produced by Allen Gilmer of Redbud Studios. Producers include John Martinez O’Felan, Joe Lamy, Academy Award-nominee Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, and Allen Gilmer.
Villafañe is most notably known for her breakout role in the Broadway musical On Your Feet portraying Gloria Estefan. She later starred as Nina Rosario in the Kennedy Center’s 2018 production of In the Heights, and then made her off-Broadway debut in MCC’s critically acclaimed Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties that same year.
On TV, Villafañe most recently portrayed Dr. Valentin Castro in NBC’s New Amsterdam and Diana Barea in Sunnyside for the network, as well as KT in the Paramount+ series Younger.
She is repped by UTA and 111Media.