It’s been more than a year since we learned that Eva Longoria will be directing the biopic about the Latino inventor of the beloved snack, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. This marks actress/producer Longoria’s first feature film as director, she’s also directing the series The Gordita Chronicles for HBO Max. With Longoria at the helm of Flamin’ Hot, it was just announced that Jesse Garcia and Annie Gonzalez will be starring in the film, Deadline reported. Garcia will play inventor Richard Montañez and Gonzalez will play his wife, Judy.
“FINALLY! We can share this FLAMING HOT MAGIC! I am so humbly empowered to be able to create alongside GIANTS! Thank you @evalongoria and @devonfranklin for pushing and @hotcheetosrpm for living in your POWER! And to my dear @jessejohngarcia let’s rock it!” Gonzalez posted on Instagram following the announcement.
Gonzalez can also be seen on the Netflix series Gentefied playing Lidia while Garcia was in The Avengers and Sons of Anarchy. But the Latinx representation doesn’t end there, Gentefied show creator Linda Yvette Chavez is helping revise the script penned by Lewis Colick (Charlie St. Cloud and October Sky), Variety reported. She’s also working with another Latina on her film directorial debut adapting the screenplay for America Ferrera’s Netflix original I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.
Montañez grew up in a migrant farmworkers camp in Southern California during the 1960s. He was one of 10 children born to Mexican immigrants and used to pick grapes along with his family. He dropped out of school due to language barriers: “But I tell people I have a Ph.D.,” he previously told Al Día. “Because I was poor, hungry, and determined.”
Montañez worked as a janitor for Frito Lay and was inspired by his Mexican American heritage to create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He reportedly took unflavored Cheetos after a machine broke down and took spices inspired by Mexican street corn including chili powder. After an in-person presentation that included sample bags with his homemade concoction, the now-iconic snack launched nationwide in 1992 and generated billions in revenue. He was subsequently named vice president of multicultural sales & community promotions for PepsiCo (which owns Frito Lay). Because of his inspirational story and amazing rise from janitor to VP he’s now a motivational speaker. He’s also written two books based on his life: A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie, and Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive
“It has been my biggest priority to make sure we are telling Richard Montañez’s story authentically. 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,” Longoria said in a statement.