Michael Peña has been an actor for almost 20 years, although you may not know him by name. These days, Peña has become more recognizable, after having major roles in “End of Watch” and “Gangster Squad”. But he has done a number of worthy minor roles that may have missed your attention. In the movies below, Peña has proven himself to be a scene stealer.
One of Peña’s earliest movie roles was in the film, “The Calcium Kid”. This is a fun flick, but not the greatest choice for the Michael Peña fan. Peña is playing a famous boxer, and as such, he is used to having his manager speak for him. Peña makes the most of what he has (we see that he is quite a ladies man in one interview scene). But Orlando Bloom is the star, and this is Bloom’s film. Peña has now made a second movie with Orlando Bloom, “The Good Doctor”. Bloom is also the star of “Doctor”, but Peña gets gets a fair amount of screen time in the movie.
One movie that should not be missed is “Fifty Pills”. The movie is standard teenage comedy fare, but Peña’s performance makes it all worthwhile. Peña has a minor role as Eduardo, a drug dealer. Peña’s comic timing is great. When one of Eduardo’s buddies bumps into him, he says, “I bruise like a peach!” Peña wags his chin at times, and gets his own theme music (“Champion”, by One Block Radius).
Peña also has a fun role in “30 Minutes or Less”. Peña plays Chango, a hitman. He has great lines in his scene with Jesse Eisenberg, such as, “Like Da Vinci Code?..Like the Contra code?” And who could forget his hilarious “You’re a pimp” scene?
Fans of “Eastbound & Down” will remember Peña’s role as Sebastian Cisneros, the owner of Kenny’s (Danny McBride) baseball team in Mexico. Peña is playing a stereotypical Mexican character, with a very heavy accent. When Kenny makes a racist joke, Sebastian replies: “That’s racism, man! I love to racism, bro!”
Fans will also be captivated by Peña’s performance in “Observe and Report”. Peña is at his absolute funniest here. His comic timing is in top form, as usual. In addition to that, Peña has a jheri curl, and uses Mike Tyson-like speech patterns.
And finally, one of Peña’s best performances is in the movie, “Crash”. Peña plays a locksmith. He has a wife and daughter, and is not looking for any trouble. But he is mistakenly stereotyped as a criminal. Peña has a very moving scene late in the film.
Peña has several films in post-production (“Chavez”, and “Hell & Back”), and more to come later in the year. It won’t be long before we see another great performance from him.