Hollywood has been on a five-year siesta when it comes to casting more Hispanic actors and actresses in major films, a new study found.
Overall, Hispanic actors accounted for only 4.9% of speaking roles in the top 100 grossing movies of 2013, the survey by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg school said.
That’s the same level recorded in 2008, even though the country’s Hispanic population has surged in recent years.
Latinas, meanwhile, are more likely than women of any other ethnicity to appear partially or totally naked on the silver screen.
The findings make Latinos the most marginalized group among American moviegoers because they represent 16% of the U.S. population and purchase a quarter of all movie tickets, the researchers said.
“Sadly, I’m not surprised. This has been a constant for some time now,” Brooklyn-bred actor Esai Morales told the Daily News on Monday.
The Annenberg study found that about 74% of the actors in the top movies last year were white, compared with a U.S. population that’s 63% non-Hispanic white.
About 14% of the characters examined were black, compared with America’s 13% black population, the study found. But nearly a fifth of all films in the sample did not have a single black speaking role, and half had a smaller percentage than the population, suggesting a few movies with predominantly black casts skewed the results.
Indeed, the study found that while 2013 included many top-grossing films with black directors and predominantly black casts — including Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” and Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Christmas” — there has been “no meaningful change” in the frequency of any racial or ethnic group in popular films between 2007 and 2013.
Morales, 51, said the Tyler Perry model of making hit movies outside of mainstream Hollywood isn’t even an option for Hispanic directors and actors.
“The African American experience is a unifying tale. No one was left out of that shared history with slavery. But when you see stories about Cesar Chavez or the Cuban Revolution, some Latinos feel left out. We’re not a homogenous community,” he said.