Jesse Garcia stars as Richard Montañez in Flamin’ Hot, the inspiring true story of how Richard went from a Frito Lay janitor to a successful businessman. Richard claimed he invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which have become a global snack phenomenon. At the helm of Flamin’ Hot was Eva Longoria in her feature directorial debut. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Jesse about working alongside Eva.
“Eva and I knew each other in past lives. That’s the only way I can explain it,” Jesse said. “We’ve known of each other for years but really didn’t have a conversation until, like even through the testing process. We would have a couple of couple conversations. And then I booked it, and we knew we were on the same page. We were making the same movie, which is important. We had a profound amount of trust in each other and knew that we weren’t going to betray the movie because if you don’t have that, and it happens all the time, where the trust goes out the window… There was none of that. She’s one of the most special people to me.”
Through reading Richard’s book, A Boy, a Burrito and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive, and filming the film, Jesse was struck by this “inspirational story about a man who went from having really nothing, having a tough young life, to getting finally getting hired to be a janitor, and then him and his wife, Judy, came up with the hot slurry that was the basis of what we now know as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. So it was kind of like the adverse journey from not much to what he is today.”
He continued, “I didn’t have much money. My parents didn’t have much money growing up. I grew up in a small town in Wyoming, and the opportunities weren’t abundant. We did what we had to do, and I kind of ventured out and knew that there was bigger things out there and X amount of years later I’m sitting here talking to you.”
Richard also has a cameo in the film. Jesse pointed out that Richard, his wife Judy, and their kids appear in the park when bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are being handed out. A full circle moment! Flamin’ Hot is now available on Hulu and Disney+.