Michael Peña

Michael Peña

Peña at the premiere of The Martian at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival
Born Michael Anthony Peña
(1976-01-13) January 13, 1976
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Occupation Actor, musician
Years active 1994–present
Religion Scientology

Michael Anthony Peña (born January 13, 1976) is an American actor and musician. He has starred in many films, such as Crash (2004), World Trade Center (2006), Shooter (2007), Observe and Report (2009), Tower Heist (2011), End of Watch (2012), Gangster Squad (2013), American Hustle (2013), Fury (2014), Ant-Man (2015), and The Martian (2015).

Personal life

Peña was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Nicolasa, a social worker, and Eleuterio Peña, factory worker.[1][2] Peña's parents were originally farmers, and emigrated from Mexico; his father was from Villa Purificación, Jalisco, and his mother was from Charcas, San Luis Potosí.[3][4][5]

Peña is a Scientologist.[6]


Though Peña has been a regular in independent productions since 1994, his breakthrough performances came in two Best Picture Oscar-winning Paul Haggis-penned films, Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Crash (2004). The former was helmed by Clint Eastwood, and the latter was directed by Haggis. Though both films are critically acclaimed, Peña received attention for his particularly emotional performance in Crash. The following year, he appeared on the Golden Globe winning series, The Shield. In 2006, he starred in Oliver Stone's film based on the September 11, 2001 attacks, World Trade Center. He also had a small role in Alejandro González Iñárritu's Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe-winning film Babel. This gives him the rare distinction of having appeared in three consecutive Oscar nominated films. He also starred alongside Mark Wahlberg in Shooter (2007) as novice FBI agent Nick Memphis.

Peña as the Master of Ceremonies for the Cesar E. Chavez Memorial

In 2006, Peña starred in the HBO film Walkout as Sal Castro, a Mexican-American high school teacher who inspires a group of East L.A. high school students to fight for Chicano rights. In 2009, he played a mall security guard alongside Seth Rogen in Jody Hill's Observe and Report.

In 2012, he co-starred with Jake Gyllenhaal as a Los Angeles police officer, in End of Watch. The same year, he began filming César Chávez, a biopic about the life of American labor leader César Chávez, who founded the United Farm Workers. Peña stars as Chávez.[7] He appeared alongside Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, and Jon Bernthal in the World War II-set action film Fury (2014),[8] and portrayed Luis in Ant-Man (2015).[9]

Peña also voiced the character Ricky in the FX animated comedy Chozen. He also formed the Los Angeles rock band Nico Vega in 2005, which is named after his mother Nicolasa. He left the band in 2007 to concentrate on his acting career but co-wrote the track, "Beast" which reached #26 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs Chart.



Year Title Role Notes
1996 My Fellow Americans Ernesto
1997 Star Maps Star Map Boy
1998 Boogie Boy Drug Dealer
1998 Cucaracha, LaLa Cucaracha Orderly
1999 Bellyfruit Oscar
2000 Gone in 60 Seconds Ignacio Credited as Michael A. Pena
2001 Buffalo Soldiers Garcia
2003 United States of Leland, TheThe United States of Leland Guillermo
2003 Love Object Ramirez
2004 Calcium Kid, TheThe Calcium Kid Jose Mendez
2004 Crash Daniel ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2004 Million Dollar Baby Omar
2005 Little Athens Carlos
2005 Sueño Jimmy
2006 Fifty Pills Eduardo
2006 Babel John - Border Patrol
2006 World Trade Center Will Jimeno Nominated – ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor - Motion Picture
2007 Shooter Nick Memphis
2007 Lions for Lambs Ernest
2008 Lucky Ones, TheThe Lucky Ones T.K. Poole
2009 Observe and Report Dennis
2009 My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? Detective Vargas
2010 Everything Must Go Frank Garcia
2011 Battle: Los Angeles Joe Rincon Nominated – ALMA Award for Favorite Movie Actor
2011 Lincoln Lawyer, TheThe Lincoln Lawyer Jesus Martinez
2011 Good Doctor, TheThe Good Doctor Jimmy
2011 30 Minutes or Less Chango
2011 Tower Heist Enrique Dev'reaux
2012 End of Watch Officer Zavala Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Latino Actor
2013 Gangster Squad Navidad Ramirez
2013 Turbo Tito Lopez (voice)
2013 American Hustle Paco Hernandez New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Ensemble
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2014 Cesar Chavez César Chávez ALMA Award for Special Achievement in Film
Imagen Award for Best Actor in Feature Film
2014 Frontera Miguel
2014 Fury Trini 'Gordo' Garcia
2015 Ant-Man Luis
2015 The Vatican Tapes Father Lozano
2015 Vacation New Mexico Cop
2015 The Martian Major Rick Martinez
2015 Hell and Back Abigor (voice)
2016 War on Everyone Bob Bolano
2016 Collateral Beauty Simon Post-production
2017 CHiPs Frank "Ponch" Poncherello Post-production
2017 The Lego Ninjago Movie Kai (voice) In production
2017 My Little Pony: The Movie TBA (voice)[10] In production
2017 Murder on the Orient Express Marquez In production
2018 A Wrinkle in Time Red In production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Pacific Blue Rabbit Episode: "Bangers"
1997 Touched by an Angel Reynaldo Estes Episode: "At Risk"
1998 Homicide: Life on the Street Luis Carrenza 2 episodes
Credited as Michael Anthony Pena
1998 Sentinel, TheThe Sentinel Johnny Episode: "Night Shift"
Credited as Michael A. Pena
1998 7th Heaven Roger Episode: "Let's Talk About Sex"
Credited as Michael A. Pena
1999 Moesha Alejandro Episode: "Life Imitating Art"
1999 Profiler Alex Lopez Episode: "Spree of Love"
Credited as Michael Anthony Peña
1999–2000 Felicity Brian Burke 5 episodes
2000 The District Sante Episode: "The Real Terrorist"
2001 Roswell Fly 2 episodes
2001 Men, Women & Dogs Miguel 2 episodes
2002 American Family 2 episodes
2002 Andy Richter Controls the Universe Patrick Episode: "Wedding"
2003 The Twilight Zone Noah Episode: "Sunrise"
Credited as Michael A. Peña
2003 ER Police Officer 3 episodes
1997, 2004 NYPD Blue Ferd
Wilmer Lopez
2 episodes
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Juanito Concha Episode: "Snakes"
2005 Shield, TheThe Shield Detective Armando Renta 10 episodes
2006 Walkout Sal Castro Movie
Black Reel Award for Network/Cable - Best Supporting Actor
Imagen Award for Best Actor - Television
Nominated – ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor - Television Series, Mini-Series or Television Movie
2008 My Name Is Earl Circus Episode: "No Heads and a Duffle Bag"
2010 Eastbound & Down Sebastián Cisneros 5 episodes
2011, 2013 American Dad! Marguerite (voice) 2 episodes
2014 Chozen Ricky (voice) 10 episodes
2014 Gracepoint Mark Solano 10 episodes

Video game

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Lego Marvel's Avengers Luis Ant-Man downloadable pack


  1. Rusoff, Jane Wollman (2005-05-07). "Michael Pena stands out in 'Crash'". Tribune. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  2. "Michael Peña: "Nunca pensé en hacer telenovelas"". People. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  3. "MIKE PEÑA, nació en Chicago de padres mexicanos. Su madre, de Charcas.". 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  4. Pearlman, Cindy. "Michael Peña has luck on his side". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  5. Daunt, Tina (2006-10-01). "He's all about survivor roles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  6. "Scientology Celebrity Center International - Michael Peña". Scientology CC. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  7. McNary, Dave. "Participant Marches With 'Chavez'." Variety. June 5, 2012.
  8. The Hollywood Reporter (May 14, 2013). "Michael Pena Boards David Ayer's Fury". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  9. Dread Central (May 14, 2013). "The First Trailer for Marvel's "Ant-Man" Is Here". Dread Central. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  10. Kit, Borys (May 16, 2016). "'My Little Pony' Movie Adds Liev Schreiber, Taye Diggs (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
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