Actor Michael Pena will see his dream role become a reality, as the Crash star is set to play 1960s and ’70s labor organizer Cesar E. Chavez in the indie biopic Chavez, which Diego Luna will direct, Variety reports.
Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera will co-star as his wife, Helen Chavez, while Rosario Dawson (Sin City) will play his confidant and aide, Dolores Huerta. Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and Pablo Cruz will produce Chavez, along with John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith.
Chavez depicts the iconic activist organizing the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to accomplish his ultimate goal of obtaining basic human rights for over 50,000 farm workers in California. The film begins shooting in the state of Sonora, Mexico this April.
Luna first went behind the lens with J.C. Chavez, a documentary about the life and struggles of legendary Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez. In 2009 he co-wrote and directed his first feature, Abel, a hit on the festival circuit.
Pena, who recently appeared in Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist, next stars opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Open Road’s cop thriller End of Watch, which co-stars America Ferrera. Pena also co-stars in Gangster Squad, which hits theaters on October 12th.