Adept at essaying a broad array of roles, Michael Peña launched his career with guest appearances on such series as [[Feature~V216959~NYPD Blue~nypdblue[tvseries]]], [[Feature~V284356~Homicide: Life on the Street~homicide:lifeonthestreet[tvseries]]], and [[Feature~V179305~ER~er[tvseries]]], as well as longer stints on [[Feature~V173722~Felicity~felicity[tvseries]]] and [[Feature~V270119~The Shield~theshield[tvseries]]]. Though his big-screen work officially stretches back several years prior to [[Feature~V305809~Million Dollar Baby~milliondollarbaby]] (2004), that [[Performer~P88601~Clint Eastwood~clinteastwood]]-directed Best Picture winner represented Peña's first major Hollywood credit. His involvement only amounted to a small part, but he re-teamed with [[Feature~V305809~Baby~milliondollarbaby]] scripter [[Performer~P274585~Paul Haggis~paulhaggis]] for higher (supporting) billing in the latter's [[Feature~V301205~Crash~crash]] (2005) -- also a Best Picture Winner, and this one a searing, acerbic indictment of inner-city racism.
Peña scored one of his first leads under the aegis of director [[Performer~P112907~Oliver Stone~oliverstone]], co-starring opposite [[Performer~P10155~Nicolas Cage~nicolascage]] in the taut, suspenseful thriller [[Feature~V336150~World Trade Center~worldtradecenter]] (2006) -- a docudrama about the two New York City Port Authority rescue workers trapped beneath the rubble of the fifth building when the towers fell. Peña followed it up with a turn as a genial, resourceful FBI agent who assists a government-conned scapegoat ([[Performer~P198251~Mark Wahlberg~markwahlberg]]) in [[Performer~P235931~Antoine Fuqua~antoinefuqua]]'s conspiracy thriller [[Feature~V346333~Shooter~shooter]] (2007), and essayed a key supporting role in director [[Performer~P107758~Robert Redford~robertredford]]'s ensemble drama [[Feature~V380101~Lions for Lambs~lionsforlambs]], opposite [[Performer~P107758~Redford~robertredford]], [[Performer~P68676~Meryl Streep~merylstreep]], and [[Performer~P86295~Tom Cruise~tomcruise]]. As the years followed, Pena would find continued success in comedy endeavours like Observe and Report, 30 Minutes or Less, and Tower Heist, as well as on the TV series Eastbown & Down. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi