Director Eva Longoria claims that her film about Richard Montaez, a former janitor at Frito-Lay, would succeed regardless of whether or not he is the true inventor of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2021 that they had interviewed several people who worked at Frito-Lay, including company spokespersons, and that all of them said there’s little truth to his viral story about coming up with a genius idea for the popular spicy snack and bravely pitching it to executives. Longoria recently addressed this controversy.
Frito-Lay claimed in a statement to The Times, “None of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market.” After speaking with a number of test market participants, we have concluded that Richard did not have any role in setting up or running the test market.
Even still, Montaez insists that he was the first to create the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto.
Eva Longoria of Flamin’ Hot says the LA Times report had “Zero Effect” on Box Office Sales
According to Longoria, the article in the L.A. Times didn’t affect her at all when she was filming his biopic. According to Longoria’s recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, “that article had zero effect on the movie we were telling.” We have always told Richard Montaez’s tale and told the truth as he saw it. It wasn’t our intention to create a film on the origins of the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto. Here is the life narrative of Richard Montaez, as told by us.
However, Frito-Lay didn’t completely throw Montaez under the bus; they acknowledged that he was “an important part of PepsiCo’s history and the success of the company.”
Longoria, it should be noted, continues to have faith in Montaez. I recall Richard being quite humorous and smart. She stated:
“He’ll tell you he’s the smartest uneducated man you’ll ever meet because you’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s not educated, but man he’s smart and profound.'”
Almost immediately, I decided to make the film from his perspective. As soon as we did that, we were free to do whatever we wanted in terms of our artistic expression. We’ve made our way into his head and his heart.
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Flamin’ Hot even acknowledges the possibility that Montaez embellished some of his accounts. Jesse Garcia plays Richard Montaez in Flamin’ Hot, which tells how Montaez turned his Mexican American roots into a global phenomenon. Hulu now has Flamin’ Hot available to watch online.
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