• Michael Pena Biography

    Born: January 13, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

    MICHAEL PEÑA has distinguished himself in Hollywood as an actor with a wide range of performances who has worked with an impressive roster of award-winning directors. Peña earned notable recognition for his performance in Paul Haggis' provocative Oscar®-winning film "Crash," alongside Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard. The film earned critical acclaim for its interpretation of complex race relations in contemporary America, and the cast garnered multiple best ensemble nominations, winning awards from the Screen Actors Guild® (SAG) and the Broadcast Film Critics Association for their performances.

    In September 2012, Peña was seen in the critically acclaimed "End of Watch," which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. The film is about two young officers in South Central L.A. who are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel during a routine traffic stop. For his role as Officer Zavala, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, and the film was recognized by the National Board of Review as one of the Top 10 Independent Films of the year.

    In the fall of 2013, Peña will be seen as civil rights activist and labor organizer Cesar Chavez in "Chavez." The film is directed by Diego Luna and produced by Canana Films and Mr. Mudd.

    Peña's additional credits include the independent film "Everything Must Go," alongside Will Ferrell and Rebecca Hall; the dark comedy indie feature "The Good Doctor," starring Orlando Bloom; the action film "Battle: Los Angeles," which he was nominated for a 2011 ALMA award; "The Lucky Ones," co-starring Rachel McAdams and Tim Robbins; Jody Hill's comedy "Observe and Report," with Seth Rogen; Robert Redford's political drama "Lions for Lambs," along with Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep; and Werner Herzog and David Lynch's psychological thriller "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done," with Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe and Chloë Sevigny.

    Peña's other noteworthy credits consist of Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," which chronicled the heroism of American servicemen in the direct aftermath of the September 11th attacks; Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby;" Matthew Ryan Hoge's "The United States of Lelan"; Gregor Jordan's "Buffalo Soldiers"; Antoine Fuqua's "Shooter"; Brett Ratner's "Tower Heist"; and Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Babel."

    On television, Peña starred in the HBO film "Walkout." Based on the true story of a young Mexican American high school teacher who helped stage a massive student walkout in the mid 1960s, Peña received an Imagen Award for Best Actor in the television category for his performance. He re-teamed with Danny McBride on the second season of HBO's "Eastbound and Down," and also appeared on the F/X drama "The Shield" for its fourth season, as one of the central leads opposite Glenn Close and Anthony Anderson. His other television credits include Steven Spielberg's NBC series "Semper Fi."

    Raised in Chicago, Peña began acting when he beat out hundreds of others in an open call for a role in Peter Bogdonovich's "To Sir, With Love 2," starring Sidney Poitier.

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