LATINO VOICES
08/07/2013 10:32 am ET Updated Sep 24, 2013

Diego Luna Discusses Cesar Chavez Biopic And Current 'Prejudice' Toward Mexican-Americans (VIDEO)

Diego Luna may have traveled into the future for his role in the sci-fi action movie “Elysium” but the Mexican actor recently also went back in time to direct “Chavez.”

The 33-year-old star sat down with HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski on Tuesday to chat about his latest projects, including his first English-language feature film based on the life and work of American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

Despite being born and raised in his native Mexico, Luna said he learned more about the Mexican-American activist during the time he was was living in the United States.

“The idea behind the film is to talk about a community that now I have a strong connection with,” the actor, whose first son was born in the U.S., told Minkovski. “And I found out that no one has done a film about him and I don’t think it has been celebrated enough. And I think it’s the right time to tell the story of Cesar Chavez.”

(Watch Diego Luna Discuss “Chavez” Above)

The movie is currently in post-production, according to its IMDb page, and will star Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez, Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta and America Ferrera as Helen Chavez, among others. The script was written by Keir Pearson (“Hotel Rwanda”) and the storyline will cover ten years of Chavez’s life starting in 1962, when the National Farm Workers Association was founded.

For Luna, the movie’s message transcends time and speaks about the Mexican-American community’s current relationship with Mexico and the rest of the United States’ population.

“There’s so much prejudiced instilled today about this community, from people in the States and people in Mexico,” the star told HuffPost Live. "And there is a connection that hasn’t been established between Mexico and Mexican-Americans. I learned about this community from Mexico and when I moved here I realized it was a completely different story.”

When asked what exactly is the perception of the Mexican-American community in Mexico, Luna emphasized the physical and social line that exists between the two cultures.

“Well what happens is that, well, they are Americans but it’s a very complicated relation[ship]. It’s such a long, long, long frontier between the Third World and the First World, and that separates them with their story, with so many things I believe are necessary to become someone, to know where you come from...For a long time people in the States were saying ‘you’re telling a story about Mexicans’ and I said ‘no, no, no this is a story about Americans in fact’ and that we Mexicans have a lot to learn from. It talks about this double moral issue that you find a lot in the States, where there are all these people feeding the country, building the country but at the same time [it] is a country that doesn’t want to recognize that, but doesn’t want to get rid of them either, that just wants to keep them in the shadows. And that’s probably why there’s not a film about Cesar Chavez today.”

The Mexican actor also discussed the current immigration debate and the underlying social sentiments that surround it.

“To me it’s very simple, one day people in this country decided not to ask ‘where is this food coming from?’ and we cannot lose that curiosity because we have to make sure we get affected by the story of our neighbors and to me if the film comes out and you go ‘wait a second? what needs to happen for this [food] to get here’ that’s already something.”

During the interview, the actor also spoke about Latino actors in Hollywood, Mexico’s current political and social state, and more. Check out a clip of Diego Luna talking about “Chavez” above and the full segment below.

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