Eva Longoria Directing Flamin Hot Cheetos Movie

It’s been over a year and a half since we learned that Fox Searchlight was teaming with producer DeVon Franklin for a movie about Richard Montanez, the man who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. That might sound like a desperate attempt to craft a movie with built-in advertising for one of the most popular snacks on shelves today, but the story of the man behind Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is an inspiring and true rags-to-riches story, and thankfully, Mexican-American multi-hyphenate Eva Longoria will be directing.

Deadline has word on Eva Longoria taking the helm of the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie, which is simply being called Flamin’ Hot. The former Desperate Housewives star won out the job over several directors “after impressing Franklin and Fox with her authentic approach to portraying the inspiring story of Richard and Judy Montanez.” Considering a recent study found a disturbing lack of Latino representation on film, having a Mexican-American filmmaker tackling the true story of a Mexican immigrant sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

If you’re not familiar with the story of Richard Montanez, he was just a janitor at the Frito-Lay snack company who could barely read or write when he came up with the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. One day at the factory where Cheetos are made, a batch of the crunchy cornmeal snack emerged without the traditional cheese dust on it. He was able to take some of the plain Cheetos home and decided to put some chili powder on them, inspired by the Mexican corn dish elote, which is topped with chili powder.

During his time at Frito-Lay, then-CEO Roger Enrico had encouraged employees to take ownership of the company in a video meant to boost morale. This inspired Montanez to call the CEO and get a meeting to pitch Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and the rest is history. You can find out more about the story in CNBC’s profile on the man himself.

Longoria will direct from a script by October Sky writer Lewis Colick, and the film will also be overseen by Zahra Phillips at Franklin Entertainment, and Samuel Rodriguez will act as executive producer. Having a Latin, female director behind a project like this isn’t very common, and it’s about time Longoria starts carving a path for others.

Though Longoria is best known for her work on Desperate Housewives and other roles in front of the camera, her career behind the camera is taking off. She’s attached to direct and produce a movie called 24/7 at Universal in which she’ll star with Kerry Washington, and she’s also working on another Latin-centric project called My Daughter’s Quinceañera at Universal.

Honestly, this kind of story couldn’t come at a better time. The current social and political climate has certain government officials not only looking down upon immigrants trying to make their life better by coming to the United States, but calling them animals and using words like “invasion” to describe the simple act of immigration, something this entire country was founded on. And maybe it’s time people heard that their favorite salty snack was created by a Mexican immigrant. So while it might be easy to mock something like a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie, this could be truly inspiring and it might make waves during awards season, not unlike The Founder or The Social Network.

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