This talented, quiet, often intense young actor has been working his way up for years. He started paying his performance dues when he was barely out of his teens, worked slowly and steadily through the late nineties until he had a moderate break as a supporting character in "Felicity" back in 2000, then continued to get noticed and acknowledged through his work in "American Family," "ER," and the original movie version of "Crash."
In fact, he won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in '06 for that one. The following year, he got even more attention for Edward James Olmos' "Walkout." He got two ALMA noms that year, for "Walkout" and "World Trade Center." And he worked not only well but steadily thereafter, showing up and doing good work in everything from Seth Rogan's oddly dark "Observe and Report" to the mixed results of "Eastside and Down."
But 2011 was supposed to be it‘«Űthe sum total of years of climbing that ladder. There wasn't just one film with Pe??a in the power position, there were three: the much-anticipated comeback film for Matthew McConaughey, "The Lincoln Lawyer," the blockbuster SF military epic, "Battle: Los Angeles," and then to finish up a nice little turn in a comedy-caper flick with Jesse Eisenberg and others, "30 Minutes or Less."
But‘«™something happened. Pe??a's breakthrough into leading man stardom still hasn't happened.
"Lincoln Lawyer" barely made a splash, though the critics thought it was pretty damn good. "Battle L.A" drew some eyeballs and made some money, but was overwhelmed by even bigger blockbusters like "Thor" and "Harry Potter" early in the year (and it was hampered by a well-produced but highly derivative script, that seemed to do little but steal key scenes from a dozen other modern-day alien invasion flicks‘«™and fans noticed). So suddenly, Pe??a's cute little project, like one of those toss-offs Jessica Alba does between 'real movies' seems just as important as the others before it, especially since Pe??a is demonstrating his comedic skill‘«Űsomething he hasn't done often in the past.
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