Michael Pena on his roles before stardom: ‘At first it was all gangsters’


The Viva TODAY series celebrating Latin music and culture continues with a profile of Michael Pena, who’s gone from being a character actor to an in-demand star in major films including “The Martian.” He tells Natalie Morales that his career has been a 20-year struggle to balance his proud Latino heritage with his desire to avoid stereotypes: “At first it was all gangsters,” he says of the roles offered him. He also talks about the upcoming film version of classic TV series “CHiPs,” in which he’ll reprise the role originated by Erik Estrada (on whom Natalie had a big crush).