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Jessica Chastain Defends Penelope Cruz's Casting as a Colombian Spy in 'The 355'

Jessica Chastain Defends Penelope Cruz's Casting as a Colombian Spy in 'The 355'

Jessica Chastain is speaking out to defend the casting of Penelope Cruz as a Colombian spy in their new movie The 355.

Variety published an article in which the film was called out for casting a Spanish actress in the role of a Latina woman as they are not the same.

WATCH THE TRAILER: The first look at The 355 was released this week!

“She’s cast in a role that makes it seem clear that executives and agents put no effort into scouring the world to find a more appropriate choice, or to be even more daring, an actual Colombian actress to play Graciela,” the author of the article wrote.

Jessica, who is also a producer on the movie, released a statement to the outlet in which she explained that the role was originally conceived as being Brazilian, but Penelope did not feel comfortable playing a character from Brazil.

Click inside to read Jessica Chastain’s statement…

“When I had the idea of making this film, we didn’t have a script or financing,” Jessica said. “Penelope was incredibly helpful in this regard. After conversations with our consultant, I brought her the idea that she could play a fervent agent from Brazil. She mentioned that it wouldn’t be right for her to play a character from Brazil, as the majority language is Portuguese.”

She added, “I realized that Colombia has a rich ethnic heritage, with approximately 80% of the population having European or mixed European heritage. We settled on a character who is a descendant from the colonization of Spain in the New World.”

“I understand that we are continuing to evolve how we think in terms of our cultural beliefs,” Jessica said. “When making this film, I wanted to move beyond nationalism and understand the international common thread that connects us all. At the end of the day, it wasn’t important where the characters came from, but that they all come together to form an alliance beyond borders.”

Variety suggests that other actresses who could have played the role include Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara, Orange is the New Black‘s Dascha Polanco, Bosch‘s Paola Turbay, or Narcos’ Martina Garcia.

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