The world’s been waiting with bated breath since 2018, when Fox Searchlight announced a biopic about Richard Montañez, the creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Now, Flamin’ Hot is moving forward with Eva Longoria set to direct and actors Jesse Garcia and Annie Gonzalez slated for the lead roles.
Longoria is an experienced TV director, with credits including Devious Maids, Black-ish, The Mick, and Telenovela. Now, she’s entering a feature directorial era with the Searchlight project, focusing on the story of Richard Montañez. Variety explains that Montañez, the son of Mexican immigrant farm workers, started as a janitor at the Frito-Lay factory in Rancho Cucamonga, California, before inventing the wildly popular snack food.
As Newsweek explains, Montañez invented the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto after a broken machine on the Cheetos assembly line produced a batch of plain, undusted Cheeto puffs. Montañez took the Cheetos home and dusted them with chili powder, an idea inspired by elotes street vendors. He then pitched the recipe to Roger Enrico, the company’s CEO at the time. Now, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are a junk food staple.
Longoria told Variety that it was her “biggest priority to make sure we are telling Richard Montañez’s story authentically.” She went on to comment on the actors, saying: “I am so happy to have two extremely talented and fellow Mexican Americans on board in these pivotal roles. Jesse and Annie have a deep understanding of our community and will be able to help tell this story of great importance for our culture.” Filming will kick off this summer in New Mexico, although Searchlight has yet to set a release date.