According to Deadline, Cuban American actress Ana Villafañe will lead the indie feature Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde from Mankind Entertainment as the titular Alina Fernandez, anti-communism activist and Fidel Castro’s daughter. Alina Fernandez was the result of a secret passionate love affair between Fidel Castro and Natalia “Naty” Revuelta. Revuelta, a Cuban socialite, sacrificed her and her physician husband’s personal belongings and fortune to fund the revolution.
Born in 1959, Fernandez was just a toddler when Castro overthrew the Batista government. Throughout her early childhood, Castro would visit Fernandez’s home in the night where she would tirelessly play with him, as she knew he would disappear for months with no explanation. However, she wouldn’t know until the age of 10 that “El Comandante” was her father. She remained in Cuba with her mother after her stepfather and sister fled to the United States after his medical clinic was shut down. As Fernandez grew into adulthood, she opened her eyes to the mass suffering in Cuba and became part of the political dissident movement in the 1980s.
“I wanted him to find a solution to all the shortages: of clothes, of meat, so it could again be distributed through the ration books. I also wanted to ask him to give our Christmas back. And to come live with us. I wanted to let him know how much we really needed him…,” writes an excerpt from her autobiography, Castro’s Daughter.
Fernandez was arrested on several occasions and was forbidden from international travel. In 1993, she managed to escape the island to Spain with the help of some false papers and a wig. She then made Miami her home where she resides today. The biopic will shoot in Cartagena, Colombia this summer with Goya Award-winner, Miguel Bardem as the director. Academy Award nominee Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), and Pulitzer prize winner Nilo Cruz (Anna in the Tropics) penned the script.
Villafañe is primarily known for her breakout role as Gloria Estefan in the Broadway musical On Your Feet. 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.