In the series premiere of “Back Home” actor and musician, Michael Peña, travels to his parents’ homeland of Mexico to learn about his family’s roots.
The 37-year-old Chicago born and raised actor explores Mexico City and shares the stories of his parents during their years in their home country, and his own preconceived notions of Mexico.
“I don’t know too much about where my father grew up, I only heard stories about him and his brother, and I knew it was a small town, Purificacion, Jalisco.”
Peña talks about he how became an actor and what his first audition was like.
“I’m not a Brad Pitt looking guy, you know what I mean? And I was like ‘I’m going to star in movies,’ and they’re like ‘you’re crazy.’ ‘You should give up.’ But it was the one thing my mom said, ‘nobody remembers your bank account.’…Nobody in my neighborhood was an actor. Not a lot of people from the ghetto said ‘hey, I want to be an actor.’ I’d rather be a professional football player or something. I didn’t know, but I did grow up in an artistic household. My mom used toy sing, my dad used to draw, he used to play guitar.”
He chats with Mexican actors Cecilia Suarez and Jose Maria Yazpik about how being an artist in Mexico is so different from Hollywood. Peña shares his love of music performing with some of the country’s up and coming indie bands and why he loves acting.
“I just want to be part of great stories that hit me emotionally, when I’m like ‘whoa.’ When we were in “Chavez” even, in a difficult scene, it’s the challenge of a tough scene. The better the story, the tougher the part. But when you accomplish it, that feels the best. I’m kind of addicted to that kind of a movie.”