Felicity Jones and Diego Luna
Felicity Jones and Diego Luna
Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios

In a 2016 survey of more than 11,000 speaking characters in movies and TV, it was found that only 5.8 per cent of Latino and Hispanic characters had speaking roles.

Mexican actor Diego Luna plays Captain Cassian Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the films lead characters.

He stars among a diverse cast, including Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, and Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus, led by Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso.

Perls, a 27-year-old tumblr user from San Diego, recently wrote a post about taking her father to the screening.

She wasn't sure he would enjoy it, but wanted to show her father, a Mexican with a thick accent, that Diego Luna had kept his accent for the film.

Perls wrote:

I took my father to see Rogue One today. I’ve wanted to take him for a while. 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. And although I wasn’t sure if it was going to resonate with him, I took him anyway.

When Diego Luna’s character came on screen and started speaking, my dad nudged me and said, 'he has a heavy accent.'

I was like, 'Yup.'

When the film was over and we were walking to the car, he turns to me and says, 'did you notice that he had an accent?' And I said, 'Yeah dad, just like yours.'

Then my dad asked me if the film had made a lot of money. I told him it was the second highest grossing film of 2016 despite it only being out for 18 days in 2016.

He then asked me if people liked the film, I told him that it had a huge following online and great reviews.

He then asked me why Diego Luna hadn’t changed his accent and I told him that Diego has openly talked about keeping his accent and how proud he is of it.

And my dad was silent for a while and then he said, 'And he was a main character.' And I said, 'He was.' And my dad was so happy.

As we drove home he started telling me about other Mexican actors that he thinks should be in movies in America.

Representation matters.

The post went viral, so much so that it actually came to the attention of Diego Luna.

He tweeted a screengrab of the story and wrote of how it had moved him:

Not only do diverse casts inspire stories such as this, they perform better at box office.

Films that have a 41-50 per cent non-white cast do better in the global marketplace, a recent study found.

HT Upworthy

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