The Upcoming ‘Flamin’ Hot’ Movie Is All About the Alleged Mexican-American Creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
We are freaking out about the upcoming “Flamin’ Hot” movie, which is set to tell the tale of Richard Montañez, a former Frito-Lay employee who describes creating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in his memoir. While the film does not have a confirmed release date yet, director Eva Longoria Bastón recently spoke out about it — and gave us all the details.
Longoria Bastón explained to AP Entertainment, “I have ‘Flamin’ Hot’ coming out, that’s the other feature film I also directed during COVID.” As the Mexican-American actress, producer, and director described, “It’s fantastic, a biopic about Richard Montanez [sic], the man who created the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto. It’s a beautiful, inspiring story and it’s not what you expect. It’s not what you think.”
The movie is “in post [production] now,” meaning it has already finished filming. The stars include Annie Gonzalez from “Gentefied,” Jesse Garcia, Emilio Rivera, and Brice Gonzalez, a 6-year-old TikTok personality from the @enkyboys father and son account.
Richard Montañez shot to fame for his rags-to-riches story about rising the ranks as an 18-year-old janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga factory in 1976. As he wrote in his memoir “Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive,” Montañez came up with the idea of a Cheeto covered in chile and ran home to try it out in his kitchen. According to Montañez, he pitched it to Frito-Lay’s past CEO Roger Enrico, and presented his idea to a wide-array of executives, even making his own makeshift plastic bags for the chips.
Soon enough, Montañez became vice president of multicultural sales and community promotions at PepsiCo., and of course, Flamin’ Hot anything is probably the most delicious flavor to exist — ever. Released in the early 90s, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos became an immediate hit.
We can’t wait for “Flamin’ Hot” and are definitely bringing out bags of Flamin’ Hot Popcorn while we watch it, but it’s still important to note that Montañez’s story has been involved in controversy since last year.
The Los Angeles Times published an exposé in May 2021 that uncovered that some of what Montañez has stated about his story may be more fiction than truth. Frito-Lay told the outlet, “none of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market,” while interviews with employees from that time period say they do not recall Montañez’s iconic first Flamin’ Hot presentation ever taking place.
The bombshell exposé came as a shock to Montañez’s fans, but Frito-Lay soon cleared up its statements. They later said, “we attribute the launch and success of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos… to several people… including Richard Montanez [sic].” They continued, “divisions operated independently… [this] doesn’t mean we don’t embrace all of their contributions and ingenuity, including Richard’s.” Meanwhile, they said some of their statements had been “misconstrued” and had caused “a strain on our valued friendship with Richard Montanez [sic] and the Latino community.”
Montañez stands by his original story, and even published an Instagram video talking about writing your own history “because if you don’t, somebody else will.” He continued, “the best way to destroy a positive message is to destroy the messenger. Never allow that to happen to you. I’m certainly not going to allow it to happen to me.”
Even through the controversy, production and release of “Flamin’ Hot” is set to continue.