The feature film on late migrant worker and activist Cesar Chavez will hit the big screen next year with star power.
The film “Chavez,” stars Michael Peña of “Crash” as Chavez; “Ugly Betty’s” America Ferrera as Chavez’s wife Helen; and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta a lead organizer who worked closely with Chavez.
The film’s director Diego Luna, who says this is the first feature film on Cesar Chavez, worked tirelessly at recreating the environment of California’s 1960s grape fields. To pull it off, he’s taken the cast and crew to Sonoro, Mexico where the grape fields resemble those of California migrant farm workers’ heydays.
Actors admire Cesar Chavez
The film’s biggest stars have their own connection with Cesar Chavez’s story.
Pena– the son of Mexican farmers who migrated to Chicago and is cast in the lead role as Chavez– told the Los Angeles Times “his father nearly wept when the actor told him he was playing Cesar Chavez.”
“Now I understand why he got so emotional,” said Pena to the Times of his immigrant family’s likeness in stories.
Ferrera, who told the Times she knew and admired Chavez before embarking on the project, met with Chavez’s now 85-year-old wife to gain perspective. She described Helen’s strength in raising eight children and supporting Chavez’s movement as still and quiet.
“You understand [from the movie] that great things don’t happen without great sacrifice,” Ferrera told the Times.
Actor John Malkovich is working on the film’s production and is cast in the role of a grape farmer. Gabriel Mann of the ABC TV series “Revenge” also has a part in the film.
Read it at Los Angeles Times