Michael Pena: 'Jack Ryan' taps into issues that are happening now

Michael Pena can now be seen in "Jack Ryan." Photo courtesy of Prime Video
1 of 5 | Michael Pena can now be seen in "Jack Ryan." Photo courtesy of Prime Video

NEW YORK, July 15 (UPI) -- Ant-Man, American Hustle and Narcos: Mexico star Michael Pena says playing former Navy Seal and senior CIA operative Domingo Chavez in the globe-trotting espionage thriller, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, is a reminder that the world is a big and dangerous place.

"I grew up in Chicago in a lower-income area where you kind of think life is just your block or your neighborhood, right? And then you move somewhere else and you're like, 'Oh, wow!'" Pena told UPI in a Zoom interview conducted before the Screen Actors Guild went on strike Thursday.


"World politics is something that is very real and unless you pay attention about it, you don't know what's going on," the actor said. "[The show] does tap into issues that are even happening now."

The fourth and final season of the screen adaptation of Clancy's best-selling novel series is now streaming on Prime Video.

It follows the titular hero (John Krasinski) as he ascends to the new role of CIA acting deputy director.

As such, Ryan must root out the internal corruption of his predecessor, who headed up a series of black ops, including those that involve a drug cartel and a terrorist organization and put the United States in danger.


Ryan crosses paths with the undercover Chavez during his investigation.

"He's a military guy that heads into a conflict and there are some casualties that were suffered unnecessarily so and he wants to avenge their loss of life," Pena said of his character.

Pena agreed to play Chavez after Krasinski, also a producer on the project, approached him about it.

Pena listened to the pitch, then binged the show in days to see what it was all about.

"It was so good and that's when I was like: 'Dude, I'm in. This is going to be awesome.' And then I read the first two scripts and it was better than the pitch, so I was like, 'Great, let's do it,'" Pena recalled.

Blue Bloods and The Bourne Legacy alum Louis Ozawa also joined the cast in Season 4. He plays crime boss Chao Fah.

"immediately, i could recognize how the character functioned in the story and to be even a small part of this Jack Ryan world, I get it and I want to be a part of it," he said.

Ozawa also was intrigued by the show's geopolitics, which seem ripped from the headlines.

"If you're prone to conspiracy theories, which I am, this definitely heightens your paranoia," he laughed.


"It's all interconnected. Obviously, a lot of the story line is fictional, but we are based in real countries and these are certain kinds of things that happen in real life."

The series co-stars Wendell Pierce, Michael Kelly, Betty Gabriel and Abbie Cornish.

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