The official trailer for Disney+ and Hulu’s upcoming Flamin’ Hot teases the remarkable and flavoursome story behind the birth of the legendary Flamin’ Hot Cheeto. With its fiery kick and vibrant neon-red coating, this snack single-handedly revolutionised the industry and helped put PepsiCo back in the game. What you might not know, is the remarkable rags-to-riches tale of how it came to be.
Helmed by Eva Longoria, this biopic revolves around the life of Richard Montañez, a Mexican immigrant and former janitor at Frito-Lay, who boldly claims to be the mastermind behind the invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Montañez says that during his time as a janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga plant, he conceived the idea of a chilli-covered Cheeto and reached out directly to the chief executive, passionately pitching his spicy creation.
Montañez faced corporate betrayal as those within tried to hinder his progress. However, his relentless determination and unwavering drive propelled him to outmaneuver them. The explosive success of Flamin’ Hots quickly swept the nation (and eventually the world), catapulting Montañez to new heights and transforming him into an iconic figure in his industry. However, Montañez’s story is subject to dispute, with Frito-Lay itself casting doubt on his account.
According to a Los Angeles Times article, the company stated that employees from the Upper Midwest were the actual masterminds of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Despite the controversy, Lewis Colick, who wrote the script for the Flamin’ Hot biopic, said that while not totally factual, there was enough truth in Montañez’s story to be compelling.
“The heart and soul and spirit of the story is true,” said Colick, defending Montañez. “He is a guy who should remain the face of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.” The captivating official trailer for Flamin’ Hot shines the spotlight on Richard Montañez’s remarkable ascent to success and his ingenious creation of the iconic flavour.
Opening at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga factory, we witness Jesse Garcia’s Richard Montañez as he gets called by the former CEO, Roger Enrico, portrayed by Tony Shalhoub. Following his triumphant creation of a revolutionary flavour, Montañez’s career soars as he secures a promotion to the role of vice president of Multicultural Sales & Community Promotions at PepsiCo.
The trailer then cuts to the very beginning, delving into Montañez’s turbulent past, shedding light on his involvement in the drug trade, gang affiliations, and robberies. Determined to transform his life, he joins Frito-Lay as a janitor. However, his aspirations are soon tested when it’s revealed that the company isn’t “getting enough orders to keep the factory open.”
Montañez’s Eureka moment arrives while enjoying an outing at a park with his son, munching on some Mexican street corn. As they indulge in the flavourful treat, Montañez’s son comments on the spiciness of the corn, mentioning how it “burns,” yet expressing a strong desire to continue eating it due to his genuine fondness for the snack.
“I was searching for an answer and there it was. It had been there the entire time,” says Montañez before presenting his revolutionary idea to Tony Shalhoub’s Roger Enrico and other executives who initially question whether they should invest their valuable time in a janitor and his seemingly audacious idea.
However, with some support and encouragement from his wife and friends, and following a reflective journey through his past experiences, Montañez gathers the courage to pitch his game-changing concept. During his pitch, he highlights how the product has the potential to captivate the expanding Latino market, emphasising its ability to facilitate the company’s penetration into the Hispanic market.
As the trailer concludes, Montañez’s son takes a bite of the new flavor, instantly experiencing the fiery sensation in his mouth. Montañez and his wife anxiously inquire “if it burns good or bad” to which his son responds, “It burns good.” Flamin’ Hot features a talented cast, including Jesse Garcia taking on the lead role as Richard, while Annie Gonzalez portrays his wife, Judy, and Emilio Rivera appears as Richard’s father, Nacho. Dennis Haysbert embodies the character of Richard’s mentor, Clarence, and Tony Shalhoub as PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico. The ensemble also features Matt Walsh, Bobby Soto, and Pepe Serna among its cast members.
As per the film‘s official synopsis, “Flamin’ Hot is the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez (Jesse Garcia), the Frito Lay janitor who channeled his Mexican American heritage and upbringing to turn the iconic Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into a snack that disrupted the food industry and became a global pop culture phenomenon.”
So prepare to witness Montañez’s extraordinary journey to success and how he revolutionised the snack industry with his now-iconic invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, when Flamin’ Hot lands on Disney+ Australia on 9 June.