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'Big Time Rush' Actor Joins 'La Vida Robot' (Exclusive)

Carlos Pena Portrait - P 2013
Carlos Pena

Carlos Pena has been cast as a lead in Pantelion Films' project about four undocumented Mexican-American high school students who form a robotics club.

La Vida Robot has cast Big Time Rush star Carlos Pena as one of the leads.

The Lionsgate and Pantelion Films English-language project is based on the true story of four undocumented Mexican-American high school students who form a robotics club and go up against MIT in the National Underwater Robotics Competition.

George Lopez also stars in the project, which is being directed by Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer) from a script by Elissa Matsueda. The story is based on a Wired magazine piece by Joshua Davis.

Principal photography is slated to begin in New Mexico in mid-October.

STORY: Box Office Milestone: 'Instructions Not Included' Top Spanish-Language Film of All Time in U.S.

Lopez (Travieso Productions), David Alpert (Circle of Confusion), Rick Jacobs, Leslie Kolins Small and Ben Odell are on board to produce. Odell, Pantelion’s head of production, will oversee the project for the studio.

Pena will play Oscar Vasquez, a natural leader who finds out he can't join the military because of his undocumented status.

It was recently announced that Lopez had inked an overall film and TV deal with Pantelion Films and South Shore, the film and TV ventures between Lionsgate and Mexican media giant Televisa.

Pantelion Films, created in 2010, aims at creating projects for the Latino audience. It had a major hit with the recent comedy Instructions Not Included, which became the top-grossing Spanish-language film of all time at the North American box office, grossing $41.3 million to date domestically.

Pena, known for playing Carlos on Nickelodeon’s musical comedy Big Time Rush, appeared in Little Birds opposite Kate Bosworth and Juno Temple. He's repped by APA and Gregg Edwards Management.

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford