Michael Pena is Cesar E. Chavez in Diego Luna's Labor Rights Film
Despite the fact that Michael Pena has shown tremendous skill across the board both as a dramatic actor in Crash (the Best Picture winner from 2004) and comedies like Observe and Report and 30 Minutes or Less, the actor hasn't yet landed a lead role. All that changes as Variety reports Pena has landed a "dream role" as Cesar E. Chavez, the labor organizer of the 60's and 70's. In addition, actor Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También) will be in the director's chair again with the film that depicts Chavez organizing the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to get basic human rights for over 50,000 farm workers in California.
In addition, Luna's longtime friend and frequent co-star Gael Garcia Bernal will produce the aptly titled Chavez, written by Keir Pearson (Hotel Rwanda), through Canana Films, the company behind Miss Bala (which was on our list of the 19 Best Movies You Didn't See in 2011). Finally, the good news bear delivers some more honey for the film in the form of America Ferrera being cast as Chavez's wife Helen and Rosario Dawson as his right-hand aide Dolores Huerta. Luna is clearly excited about the film and hopes to give Chavez his due diligence on the big screen saying:
"This man inspired an entire community to see themselves as deserving of basic rights and to rise up against injustice. The film will send the message that change is in our hands -- Chavez did something everyone thought impossible with a fearless grace that magnetized an entire country."
This won't be the first time Luna has been behind the camera chronicling a man named Chavez as he also directed the documentary J.C. Chavez, which followed the life and struggles of legendary Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez. More recently, Luna also co-wrote and directed Abel which got plenty of buzz at several film festivals. Frankly, I love seeing actors get behind the camera, and having a group of Hispanic talent like this come together for a film about Cesar E. Chavez sounds like a fantastic re-telling of history. Hopefully this gets some more people on the Michael Pena bandwagon too.