Mexican actor Diego Luna, who stars in the blockbuster hit “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” tweeted a heartwarming story from a fan who recently took their father to see the film.
Luna plays one of the rebels on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star, Entertainment Weekly reports. The film was praised by many for its diverse cast, but Luna’s place in the film resonated deeply with this particular fan’s father, who is also Mexican.
In general, Latinos are underrepresented as leading roles in television and film, especially those with heavy accents, which is one of the main reasons Tumblr user RiverAlwaysKnew cited for why they wanted their father to see the film.
“I wanted my Mexican father, with his thick Mexican accent, to experience what it was like to see a hero in a blockbuster film, speak the way he does,” the fan wrote in the post, which Luna tweeted a screenshot of.
According to the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity released in February 2016 by researchers at the University of Southern California, Latinos are among the least represented speaking roles in film and television despite the fact that they make up approximately 17.4 percent of America’s population.
Many moviegoers may not have even realized how important Luna’s casting was in “Rogue One,” but RiverAlwaysKnew’s touching post ensured that the impact he made wouldn’t go unnoticed.
“When Diego Luna’s character came on screen and started speaking, my dad nudged me and said, ‘he has a heavy accent,’” the post reads. “I was like, ‘Yup.’ When the film was over and we were walking to the car, he returns to me and says, ‘Did you notice that he had an accent?’ And I said, ‘Yeah dad, just like yours.'”
As the fan continued to describe how awestruck their father was upon seeing Luna dominate the screen — accent and all — the post ended with two words that eloquently sum up the value of diversity in Hollywood: “Representation matters.”
It is, indeed, a big deal to see people in important roles that look like, talk like, and identify with minority groups. Furthermore, films with diverse casts are a better reflection of reality.
Minorities deserve to be shown that immigrants and people of color can be just as heroic as their white counterparts, rather than constantly being relegated to the role of a noble sidekick or servant.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters, Mario Anzuoni