Bradley Cooper’s Maestro is coming to Netflix in 2023, and the streamer has now released the first pictures for the biopic, which will see Cooper not just direct, but also play Leonard Bernstein. The movie is not just about Bernstein, though, it’s set to depict the complex love story between him and Felicia; a story that spans over 30 years, two engagements, a twenty-five-year marriage, and three children.
Felicia Montealegre, the real-life woman Bernstein married, was a Chilean-American actress born in San Jose, Costa Rica. In the movie, however, she’s portrayed by British actress Carey Mulligan. The casting reinforces a problem that keeps getting talked about and yet never seems to be resolved favorably for our communities – way too many Latine roles keep going to actors who are not part of our communities.
The backlash was immediate and pointed.
It’s particularly problematic on Mulligan’s part since she has previously spoken about her role in Drive, and how she auditioned for the part despite Irene being originally intended for a Latine actor. By Mulligan’s own admission, Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of the movie, was in her fantasy list of directors, which is one of the reasons why she advocated for the role to be changed to fit her.
Just like Javier Bardem’s casting in Being the Ricardos, the problem with Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan playing Felicia Montealegre is that there are plenty of actresses from our communities who could have played the role and done as good a job as Mulligan. There are also plenty of actresses who could have sparked a career in this high-profile role, something Mulligan didn’t need. And if performers from our communities can’t even get the roles when the character is from our communities, then what roles are they getting?