Biography

Steely, intense actor Damian Chapa built a formidable career tackling tough-guy roles, usually thugs and heavies, in such action outings as Under Siege (1992), Street Fighter (1994), U.S. Seals 2 (1999), and Hell's Gate (2001). Chapa took his initial bow as a writer/director/actor with 2002's offbeat, all-star religious drama Man of Faith -- a biopic of real-life celebrity preacher Leroy Jenkins (Chapa). Yet the filmmaker soon unveiled his greatest flair for scripting, helming, and occasionally producing ambitious action-flavored opuses, not entirely dissimilar from the material in which he had originally cultivated his reputation as an actor-for-hire. His El Padrino: The Latin Godfather (2004) cross-sectioned the world of the Latin mafia with the help of an all-star cast, while a follow-up, I.R.A.: King of Nothing (2006), did the same for the Irish Republican Army. Chapa next helmed the direct-to-video Mexican American (2007), in which he played a washed up prize fighter who dons a formidable arsenal of weaponry to rescue his daughter from a cracked religious cult. In the same year's Fuego (which Chapa again scripted and directed), the multihyphenate played a Mexican ex-con appointed to bring home an ambassador's daughter who has fallen prey to a psychotically violent terrorist cell. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi