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Michael Peña To Play Cesar Chavez In Biopic

Variety is reporting that Mexican-American actor Michael Peña has been cast to play labor movement icon Cesar Chavez in a biopic directed by Mexican actor (and sometimes filmmaker) Diego Luna. The film will also feature America Ferrera (as Chavez’s wife Helen) and Rosario Dawson (she will play Dolores Huerta). It will focus on Chavez’s fight for fair wages and better living conditions for farm workers.

From Variety:

“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.”

image via IndieWire

We’re conflicted about this casting choice. On the one hand, we’re just glad it isn’t someone white actor playing a minority character, or someone brown passing off as Latino (like Lou Diamond Phillips in just about every Lou Diamond Phillips movie ever). On the other hand, Michael Peña did do this:

But maybe we’re being too harsh. Or as someone said on Facebook, just partaking on some more Latino on Latino hate. Can we really blame Michael Peña for partaking in what Esai Morales calls “the 4 Hs of Hispanic Hollywood,” for playing stereotypical roles that paint Latinos in an unflattering light?:

Maybe this will be Peña’s opportunity to atone.


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