We had the opportunity to interview actor Michael Peña before the release of his new movie the remake of CHIPS, which opens nationwide in theatres Friday, March 24th. In the movie he plays Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, (the role that made Erick Estrada famous in the 70-80’s).
Michael Peña is known for roles in Crash, World Trade Center, Shooter, Observe and Report, Tower Heist, End of Watch, Gangster Squad, American Hustle, Fury, Ant-Man, and The Martian.
And now Michael is ready to show us his funny side in CHIPS. Here our exclusive interview with el chico from Chicago.
Latinaology- Thank you for the interview, Michael. Did you grow up watching the original show?
Michael- Yes, I did grow up watching the old series. Grew up in a very Mexican household, after dinner we didn’t have the “talk” at the dinner table.So, we would gather in the living room and watch shows like Cheers, Tv y Novelas, CHIPS so every night it was some TV show.
Latinaology -In this movie your character is none other than the iconic Officer Ponchorello, does Erick Estrada now about the movie?
Michael- You now Erick Estrada is in the Movie. And I tried not to think ,about it too much, I just focused on the role.If I would have thought about this being such an iconic role. I probably would have failed miserably. So I just worked on the part Dax Sheppard ( is his co-star) wrote for me.
Latinaology– Seemed you and Dax had a lot of fun filming this movie.
Michael- Dax directed a very funny movie. I think it’s hilarious and I think movie goers will enjoy the movie and be entertained. It was a lot of fun, we rehearsed for a month, tweaking the script, re-writing based on our conversations. And Dax, he is so funny and witty. While shooting scenes, he can improve like crazy.I can a little bit,but Dax is on another level, if tell a joke he just adds to it.
Latinaology- Where do you get your comedic inspiration ?
Michael- This is an interesting question. I don’t know where I get the inspiration to be honest. I’ve always been a fan of comedies, I’m not the first one to do it. I love Woody Allen’s impressions. But it’s the script and the director for sure.
Latinaology- What advice would you share to young latino/as wanting to make it in Hollywood?
Michael- Every year I come to Miami to do latin press. Every year it just gets better and better for a latino to break out and try to pursue his or her dreams of being an actor and actress. I think it’s a great time, if you would have asked me this 15 years ago. I would have said -It is tough, but now it’s a much better time. I’m doing okay and there are more and more emerging latino/a actors like Diego Luna, Gael Garcia, Angie Ramirez all starting in prominent roles. Keep on moving, creating and working eventually it will work out.
Latianology- We hope that 2018 brings you closer to the coveted Oscar.
Michael- (He laughs ) One day, I don’t know …you never know when that’s going to happen, you just do good work.And the rest will take care of itself. I would love it, one day.Everybody dreams of it for sure.
Here’s the official synopsis for CHIPS:
Jon Baker (Shepard) and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Peña) have just joined the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Los Angeles but for very different reasons. Baker is a beaten up pro motorbiker trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky undercover Federal agent investigating a multi-million dollar heist that may be an inside job—inside the CHP.
The inexperienced rookie and hardened pro are teamed together, but clash more than click, so kickstarting a partnership is easier said than done. But with Baker’s bike skills combined with Ponch’s street savvy it might just work…if they don’t drive each other crazy along the way.
Catch Michael’s new movie CHIPS! Friday, March 24th.
Until next time,
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