By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist March 7, 2012 at 8:58AM
After coming off a very busy 2011 in which he played four notable supporting roles in "Battle: Los Angeles," "The Lincoln Lawyer," "30 Minutes or Less," and "Tower Heist," Michael Peña is now set to take centre stage and play the lead in Diego Luna's "Chavez."
Described by Variety as his dream role, Peña will play 1960s and '70s labor activist Cesar E. Chavez, the man who organized the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to accomplish his goal of obtaining basic human rights for over 50,000 farm workers in California. Luna will direct the picture, which will be co-produced through Canana Films and Mr. Mudd, and so will boast Gael Garcia Bernal and John Malkovich on its long list of producers. Keir Pearson, no stranger to real-life drama as the scribe behind "Hotel Rwanda," has penned the script.
Ugly Betty herself, America Ferrera, will co-star alongside Peña as his wife, Helen Chavez, and Rosario Dawson will also star as Chavez's right-hand aide, Dolores Huerta. It's a solid cast and -- although the story is largely alien to this UK-based writer -- it sounds like there's an intriguing and powerful tale to be told. We like Peña, so it's great to see him bumped up into a leading role, and we're optimistic about the involvement of two production houses whose most recent projects were the interesting "Miss Bala" and the excellent "Young Adult." The film will begin shooting in Mexico next month.