You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Michael Pena to play labor hero Cesar E. Chavez

Diego Luna-directed pic to also star America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson

Michael Pena’s dream role is now a reality, as the “Crash” star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie drama “Chavez,” which Diego Luna will direct from a script by Keir Pearson.

America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is set to co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario Dawson (“Trance”) will play his right-hand aide, Dolores Huerta.

Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and Pablo Cruz will produce through Canana Films (“Miss Bala”) along with John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith of Mr. Mudd (“Young Adult”). Pearson and Larry Meli will also serve as producers.

Pic depicts Chavez organizing the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to accomplish his ultimate goal of obtaining basic human rights for over 50,000 farm workers in California.

“This man inspired an entire community to see themselves as deserving of basic rights and to rise up against injustice,” said Luna. “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.”

“Chavez” will begin shooting in the state of Sonora, Mexico in April. Jackie Eckhouse and Karen Segall from Sloss Law negotiated the deal on behalf of Canana.

Luna first went behind the lens with “J.C. Chavez,” a documentary about the life and struggles of legendary Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez. In 2009, Luna directed and co-wrote his first feature “Abel,” which was a hit on the festival circuit.

Pena, who recently appeared in Brett Ratner’s “Tower Heist,” next stars opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Open Road’s police pic “End of Watch,” which co-stars Ferrera. Thesp also co-stars in “Gangster Squad,” which Warners opens Oct. 12.

Luna is repped by WME and attorney Bob Wallerstein, while Pena is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Rick Genow.

Ferrera is repped by ICM, Authentic Talent and Literary Management and attorney Jodi Peikoff, while Dawson is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and attorney Carlos Goodman.

More Film

  • 'Little Pink House' Review: Catherine Keener

    Film Review: 'Little Pink House'

    Michael Pena’s dream role is now a reality, as the “Crash” star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie drama “Chavez,” which Diego Luna will direct from a script by Keir Pearson. America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is set to co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario […]

  • David Cronenberg10th Beaune International Thriller Film

    Venice Film Festival to Honor David Cronenberg With Lifetime Achievement Award

    Michael Pena’s dream role is now a reality, as the “Crash” star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie drama “Chavez,” which Diego Luna will direct from a script by Keir Pearson. America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is set to co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario […]

  • Female Filmmakers Center Stage at Sundance

    Female Filmmakers Center Stage at Sundance Film Festival London

    Michael Pena’s dream role is now a reality, as the “Crash” star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie drama “Chavez,” which Diego Luna will direct from a script by Keir Pearson. America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is set to co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario […]

  • Dubai Film Festival Cancels Next Edition,

    Dubai Film Festival Cancels Next Edition, Ends Existing Format

    Michael Pena’s dream role is now a reality, as the “Crash” star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie drama “Chavez,” which Diego Luna will direct from a script by Keir Pearson. America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is set to co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario […]

  • Love Gilda Tribeca Film Festival Review

    Tribeca Film Review: 'Love, Gilda'

    Michael Pena’s dream role is now a reality, as the “Crash” star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie drama “Chavez,” which Diego Luna will direct from a script by Keir Pearson. America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is set to co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario […]

  • Saoirse Ronan Margot Robbie

    Saoirse Ronan-Margot Robbie's 'Mary, Queen of Scots' Pushed Back to December

    Michael Pena’s dream role is now a reality, as the “Crash” star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie drama “Chavez,” which Diego Luna will direct from a script by Keir Pearson. America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is set to co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content