clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Actor Michael Pena reveals what it takes to be successful ... and his favorite Swig drink

Actor Michael Pena poses for photographers upon arrival at the Premiere of the film War On Everyone, in central London, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)
Actor Michael Pena poses for photographers upon arrival at the Premiere of the film War On Everyone, in central London, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)
Grant Pollard, AP

Michael Pena — known for his role in the Oscar-winning "Crash" — is actually a huge fan of Utah.

The star seen in the films "Ant-Man" and "Collateral Beauty" spoke at the Silicon Slopes tech summit on Friday. He and Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith discussed a range of topics at the event, from Pena's career to how he views Utah.

He said he often visits the Beehive State for golf, competing in the Crewe Cup, which is put on by Crewe Capital.

And he loves Swig.

Whenever he comes to town, he asks his friends over and over to visit the soda shop. He loves the idea of throwing vanilla syrup into his soda.

“There’s a Raspberry Dream? That’s awesome," he said on his reaction to the store.

He also shared a photo of himself by the Swig menu.

Pena also talked about family, an important issue to Utahns. He told a funny story about his niece's name. Her name is Angelina Jolie Pena.

"Don't forget the Pena," he said.

Why would his brother name Pena's niece after the famous actress?

“In his words, it’s like, ‘I love her, Mike,'" Pena said. “Maybe he loves my niece so much that he named her Angelina Jolie because she deserves it.”

Pena detailed his struggles with acting, too, which had lessons for those in the tech industry. He said his mom suggested that he try acting because he was good at imitating. He went to try it out and he liked it a lot, but he couldn't get a serious role. He said he played gang members for awhile.

But he stuck with it.

"I had a feeling like I could make it. I had no plan B whatsoever," he said.

It wasn't until "Crash" that he got a serious role. And he's thankful for sticking with the career choice.

"I don't really know what made me do it. I kept holding onto that one piece of knowingness," he said. "All I know is I love doing this thing, I love studying it. … I just love it and I just went 100 percent. I just went all in."

He also offered advice to business owners.

"You have to work on your own thing," he said. "You have to work on yourself and you have to bring something to the game."