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Two actors, two levels of maturity

If you have a telephone interview with a 14-year-old actor who stars in 'Hanna Montana: The Movie,' and later with an award-winning actor whose credits include 'Babel,' 'Crash' and 'World Trade Center,' you would think the older actor would be more serious.

Think again. Michael Peña, in his first movie comedic role alongside Seth Rogen in 'Observe and Report,' was making jokes left and right during a telephone conference call last week.

Example: Who did you watch for comedy, not counting Seth Rogen? "In the comedy genre, I think Steven Seagal is good. I think Chuck Norris is excellent. Those are my kinds of idols. Cepellín was really good, and I would say Charles Bronson is my fourth."

Meanwhile, Moisés Arias, a regular on Disney Channel programming, was the more serious one.

Example: What about your education? "I'm in the ninth grade right now, and I want to go to a university and study directing."

Peña, of course, can be excused for using humor. After all, he plays in another mall cop comedy (Remember 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop').

The actor calls comedy a tough act.

"I think there is less pressure when you can actually improv and not have to memorize the lines for once," said Peña, who said he would pinch himself from laughing at the wrong moment and messing up the movie.

"I swear to God I pinched myself in the back. I'm not kidding you, especially when Seth was making me laugh," said Peña.

Peña said a lesson he learned from his first comedy movie is that "you need to have a strong character before you can do an improv."

Asked if he was trying to break away from the serious actor role, Peña replied sarcastically, "I don't want to be typecast for being in Academy Award-nominated movies."

Arias, whose father owns a recycling company in Atlanta, took acting classes because his mother thought it would help him get over his shyness.

"After a year, we went to Los Ángeles where I found a role in 'Nacho Libre' and then a commercial," said Arias in perfect Spanish.

Arias grew up going to the movies on Fridays and Saturdays, "but I never imagined I would be an actor."

Seeing the television show 'Hanna Montana' become a major hit is unreal for Arias. "Fans range from 3-year-old kids to people in their 70s and 80s," he said.

If you want to see more of Arias, he'll be in the upcoming movie 'The Perfect Game,' about the real-life experience of a Little League baseball team from Monterrey, México that won the world championship. He will also be in the animated movie 'Astroboy' with Nicholas Cage.

'Observe and Report' and 'Hanna Montana: The Movie' both open Friday (April 10).

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