Filming on a Glacier: Michael Pena summed up the experience in one word: awesome. “You're going up in a chopper for half an hour into Whistler and you're thinking that it's beautiful, it's amazing. 'Look at those trees.' You think it's really cool and then you get into costume or whatever and they dump you off on the glacier. You think that it's really cool and that the view is fantastic or whatever, and two hours later you're like, 'It's cold. I want to go home.'”
Pena didn’t get injured filming that scene but he did get put through a real strenuous work-out. “They made me walk – it's in the movie – down a mountain and then up a mountain. I had a metal plate on because there was no way to not have it on and it was a walk. It was a good walk.”
Using a fake metal plate was never an option. “You had to drop it as well onto the ground and if it was fake one, it wouldn't have been right. It needed to stick. If it was plastic, it wouldn't have been right. It would've rolled off the toboggan.”
Continuing His String of Impressive Roles: Pena’s currently at work on Lions for Lambs, a movie Robert Redford's directing. “I'll tell you a little bit about it. It's an awesome first sentence. It's a movie directed by Robert Redford and starring Redford and Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise and myself or whatever. After the first three names you're like, 'Whatever.' I mean, they're icons.
I play this college kid who goes to Afghanistan and fights the war. It's another interesting thing. And Redford plays my teacher, my professor who's trying to talk me out of it.”
Unfortunately for Pena, he doesn’t have any scenes with Meryl Streep. “I wanted them to write a scene with me and Meryl, but I actually went on set a couple of times just to watch her. She's fantastic.”
“He makes it seem like you're not really shooting,” said Pena of Redford’s directing style. “It's like an interesting thing because he has a different style about him. Like in The Quiz Show, it's a very intriguing movie and you're very much stuck in it, but in a different way with a different intensity. It seems like you're just having a conversation and it's not really a big deal, but it is a big deal at the same time. I love working with those kinds of directors. They have their own style and they have their own vision and have something to say, but you kind of want to go towards that because they're directing the movie more than I'm just acting in it. They're setting up the shots and the key lights and the people in the background. They have all of that to consider, and so I like it when a director really has a point of view like that guy.”
Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center Holds Special Memories: “The thing that moved me was at the premiere for World Trade Center, I don't know if I'm ever going to have this again in my life – I hope I do – but after the premiere there were cops and fireman that just wanted to shake my hand. They said that they were caught up in the movie and they said that we did right by them. I mean, that's the best acknowledgement that you can get, when there seemed to be all these people that are actually putting their life on the line in order to protect and serve, and these guys did above and beyond that on that particular day. That's one of those things that I'm always going to remember, them telling me that.”