Eva Longoria’s Film About Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Gets Release Date
Eva Longoria’s directorial debut, “Flamin’ Hot,” finally has a release date. The much-anticipated biopic of janitor-turned-executive Richard Montañez tells the story of how one entry-level employee accidentally invented the greatest snack in the known universe.
Richard Montañez: the janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos…
The story goes something like this: Montañez got his hands on a supply of Cheetos, which he then took home. Inspired by Mexican street food, Montañez spiced the Cheetos similarly to how one might prepare a cob of street corn. Before long, the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto was born.
Montañez’s ambitions were steep from the very beginning. Although he joined the company as a janitor, Montañez kept his eye on the prize, vying for a corporate position with his work ethic and ingenuity. Soon after he allegedly invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Montañez’s dreams came true. Frito-Lay promoted him to an executive position.
“Flamin’ Hot,” which is in the final stages of post-production, will debut on June 9 of this year, on Hulu. There is currently no trailer or footage available, but recent production stills are giving audiences an idea of what to expect from the upcoming biopic.
… but did he really?
However, biopic might be a stretch for one simple reason: none of what happens in “Flamin’ Hot” is true. Although Montañez takes full credit for inventing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to the point that he is a successful motivational speaker because of it. The thing about it is, Montañez didn’t really invent the spicy snack.
A 2021 exposé from the Los Angeles Times offers a more truthful take on events. Frito-Lay even responded to the Times’ inquiries. In a statement, the company confirmed, “None of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market.”
They added, “We have interviewed multiple personnel who were involved in the test market, and all of them indicate that Richard was not involved in any capacity in the test market.”
However, the company is still happy to have Montañez on their side. “That doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Richard,” Frito-Lay wrote, “but the facts do not support the urban legend.” Longoria knew this before the film entered pre-production in 2019, but doubted the claims against Montañez’s story.
Prior to the 2021 statement from Frito-Lay, parent company PepsiCo said something similar. “We attribute the launch and success of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and other products to several people who worked at PepsiCo, including Richard Montañez,” they wrote in an intentionally vague statement.
Montañez often says he pitched Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to Frito-Lay in 1991. However, by that point, the Flamin’ Hot name was already in use with product development. Did Montañez invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos around the same time Frito-Lay did? It’s possible, but the company seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Frito-Lay has just been going with it for the last thirty years
On the one hand, Montañez’s story is great publicity. On the other, the idea of endorsing a man who claims to be solely responsible for the invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is a risky move considering how many people had a hand in developing the product.
Still, the pros seem to outweigh the cons here because Montañez is still on the road, telling his story and publishing tell-all autobiographies about his accomplishments. With all of that in mind, is it believable that Montañez invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos all by himself? No. But as a symbol of Latino ingenuity and the American Dream, he’s perfect.
Longoria’s film will tell Montañez’s larger-than-life story with an ensemble cast, including Tony Shalhoub, Dennis Haysbert, Emilio Rivera, Matt Walsh, Jimmy Gonzales, and Jesse Garcia as the film’s central character.
Additionally, TikTok Enkyboys star Brice Gonzalez will co-star. His father, Randy Gonzalez, recently passed at 35 following a battle with colon cancer. Brice is also a star on George Lopez’s new NBC show, “Lopez vs. Lopez.”
In a recent Instagram post addressing his father’s death, Brice wrote, “I wish I could hug you and give you a kiss one more time dad but I know you will be watching over me, mom and the girls. Until I see you again dad. I promise to make you proud. I love you.”
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