John Leguizamo has opened up about the lengths he has gone to for his acting roles (Photo: Getty)
John Leguizamo has revealed that he would avoid going out in the sun in order to stay ‘lighter-skinned’ for acting roles.
The 57-year-old actor, who plays Bruno in Disney’s Encanto and has also appeared in John Wick, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and ER, has opened up about the challenges of breaking into Hollywood as a Latino performer.
Speaking to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Colombian-born star said: ‘I stayed out of the sun so I could work.’
‘I definitely would not go in the sun for years. It was a conscious thing because I could work. And all the Latinos that made it so far, a lot of them were all light-skinned.
‘What happened to all the Afro-Latinos and the majority of indigenous Latinos? They don’t get a shot, you know.
‘So, there’s a lot of things we got to deal with in Hollywood, and we got to fix, and we got to speak out and we got to speak up.’
Encanto has been praised for its representation of various skin colours and body types (Credits: AP)
John has addressed racial injustices towards Latinx performers in the past, and in 2020 he boycotted the Emmy Awards for snubbing the community.
Now, the When They See Us star has pointed out issues with representation in the film and TV industry, and the roles that are available.
Speaking to the outlet, he added: ‘How do you create a Latin star in America when the roles are one-dimensional and not worthy of awards?
‘The ugly question is, why are Latin people not succeeding? What’s the ugly question? Are we not smart enough? Not talented enough? Not good-looking enough? Not hardworking enough?’
‘No, none of those stereotypes and racist ideas because nobody tries harder with less access.’
John voiced Bruno in Encanto (Credits: AP)
He also addressed the 2021 Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which looked at the 1,300 top-grossing films from 2007 – 2019, which found that only seven percent of films from the period featured a lead or co-lead Hispanic/Latino actor.
He pointed out that while Latinx actors usually perform characters with ‘a negative portrayal’, but he thinks things are changing.
He added: ‘So not only are we invisible, but when we are seen, it’s a negative portrayal… Things are improving. I think COVID made us really look at ourselves in America.
‘Black Lives Matter was a huge awakening for America, a reboot for America to look at themselves and see what’s going on. I think everybody’s trying to do the right thing and hire many more people of colour.
‘What I want to see, I want to see 20 percent of the roles in front of the camera and the crew. I’m not asking for extra. I just want what’s due to us.’
John stars in Encanto, the latest computer-animated film from Disney, alongside a cast that includes Stephanie Beatriz, Wilmer Valderrama, Maria Cecilia Botero and Mauro Castillo and features music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Set in rural Colombia, every character (and even the town) in the new movie seems to be enchanted – except for Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz).
Poor Mirabel may be surrounded by beautiful nature and people with special powers, but she’s the odd one out – until she needs to save her home from being destroyed.
Encanto is available to stream on Disney Plus now.
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