Michael Peña is a great actor who we've been waiting to fall into the right project after breaking out with a strong turn in "Crash." To be fair, he's chosen roles that seemed good on paper but just didn't deliver for a variety of reasons -- "Lions For Lambs," "World Trade Center," "Shooter," "Battle: Los Angeles," "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done" -- but 2011 seems to find the actor on the uptick. He recently co-starred in the strong indie flick "Everything Must Go," this spring he was part of the sleeper hit "The Lincoln Lawyer" and he's got the comedy "30 Minutes Or Less" on the horizon. But now it looks like he's joining an incredibly top-shelf cast for one of the hottest projects on the Warner Bros. lot.
In an interview with MTV (via Gordon And The Whale) for the forthcoming "30 Minutes Or Less," director Ruben Fleischer revealed Peña will join him on his next film. "We're going to start shooting in September, and it's pretty exciting. It's Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling...and Michael Peña is featured in this movie," he said adding, "It's a period gangster movie set in Los Angeles in 1949."
The casting is pretty exciting stuff. Last we heard, Josh Brolin wasn't entirely locked down for the part just yet, but it seems like it's pretty certain now. Notably absent from Fleischer's announcement was Anthony Mackie, who was also tipped for a part about a month ago.
The film is based on a series of articles in the L.A. Times by Paul Lieberman and was picked up soon after its publication in 2008 by Warner Bros. who, in turn, hired former L.A. cop-turned-novelist Will Beall to adapt. The major focus of Lieberman’s article was a specialized L.A.P.D. unit set up in the ‘40s to fight the growing influence of the East Coast Mafia, namely that from infamous gangster Mickey Cohen, a mogul who started as muscle for Al Capone in Chicago. Penn will play Cohen with Gosling and Brolin as the two cops determined to bring him down. No word yet on Peña's role.
But hell, sounds pretty damn great and we can't wait to see who else joins this already strong ensemble. As Fleischer mentioned, it will go in front of cameras this fall and seems tailor made for an awards season 2012 release. More to come we're sure, but for now, check out the interview below.