Actor-turned-filmmaker Dax Shepard was so sure Michael Pena would agree to co-star in his new CHiPs movie revamp, he sold studio executives on the idea before actually telling him.
The Ant-Man star takes on the part of Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello, the role made famous by Erik Estrada in the original 1970s traffic cop drama series, while Dax portrays his rookie partner Jon Baker, previously played onscreen by Larry Wilcox.
Dax also wrote and directed the film adaptation, but Michael hadn’t officially agreed to the project until after the former Parenthood star had secured funding.
Making the confession on Good Morning America, Michael said, “He sold the movie without even telling me that I’m starring in it. That’s like me selling a movie starring Brad Pitt. ‘He’s gonna do it, trust me, he’s gonna do it, it’s gonna be great!'”
Luckily, Michael was only too happy to team up with Dax for the comedy remake, and although they had a blast working together, there was one aspect of the job the 41-year-old wasn’t thrilled about.
“I’m not a stunt guy…,” he declared, admitting he spent much of the road scenes having his motorcycle pulled along on the back of a trailer.
“(I’m) not good,” the father-of-one continued as he shook his head. “I’m not gonna lie, I was on the trailer a lot. I got really good at that!”
Pena tried to learn how to ride a motorbike before filming began, but he didn’t dare speed up as he feared for his safety: “When I was training, I was that guy. It’s almost like having a Lamborghini and being the slow guy… I was like, ‘Nope, I’m not speeding up! I don’t care!'”
“I’m not 22 anymore,” he laughed. “When I got on the bike, I was like, ‘I can die. This is real!'”