Update 5/4/21: According to Variety, the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie now has a cast. Jesse Garcia will play Richard Montañez, the snack’s inventor, and Annie Gonzalez will play his wife Judy.
Yes, they really are going to make a movie about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. And yes, that sounds silly, especially when you imagine it kicking off a Connected Snack Universe that ends with the Doritos Los Tacos as the big bad villain of the franchise. However, the real story behind the film—which will see Eva Longoria make her featured film directorial debut—makes a lot more sense for the big screen than a popular convenience store food item. It’s the tale of an immigrant’s son whose idea saved a company and changed an industry in a timely story that touches on big business and the American dream.
Deadline reports Longoria, who has previously directed for television, won the coveted job to lead Flamin’ Hot, which will tell the real-life tale of Richard Montañez. He was unable to read or write when he began working as a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant at the age of 18 in 1976. However, everything changed for him when he asked to accompany a salesman on a trip in the mid-80s. During that outing, he realized the struggling Frito-Lay didn’t sell any spiced snacks and was ignoring the Latino market entirely. After experimenting at home with his own Mexican seasoning, he made the bold decision to call the CEO personally to share his idea. What happened next, including a successful pitch to the company’s biggest of wigs, was covered in Zachary Crockett’s story at The Hustle in 2017.
The snacks proved a massive, lucrative success, one frequently emulated since, and over the years Montañez rose to the title of Vice President of Multicultural Sales for PepsiCo America, which owns Frito-Lay.
The movie, which DeVon Franklin will produce at Fox under his Franklin Entertainment label, reportedly chose Longoria thanks to “her authentic approach” to telling the story of Montañez and his wife, Judy.
So yes, they’re technically making a movie about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but no, it’s not what you think. Like a spicy chip versus a plain one, it’s much, much better.
Featured Image: Frito-Lay / NBC
This article was originally published on August 27, 2019 and was updated on May 4, 2021.