Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Eva Longoria has spent her life as an activist, philanthropist and actor, but she’s wearing a different hat these days – and sitting in a different chair.
The award-winning actress is at the helm of the production “Flamin’ Hot,” which marks her directorial debut.
The New Mexico Film Office announced Thursday that the feature film is in production in Albuquerque.
Longoria has been chronicling her journey in New Mexico via Instagram for nearly a month, and hosted a screening of “In the Heights” in Albuquerque on June 14 for the University of New Mexico Hispanic Youth Research and Leadership Program.
“Flamin’ Hot” tells the story of Richard Montañez, the Frito Lay janitor who channeled his Mexican American heritage and upbringing to turn Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into an iconic snack that disrupted the food industry and became a global pop culture phenomenon.
In recent years, Montañez’s story has been debunked by Frito Lay, though he took to Instagram in May to accuse the company of trying to erase contributions.
“I don’t care what room you’re in, there’s always somebody in the room that’s going to try to steal your destiny,” he said in the post. “They may even say you never existed.”
To his credit, Montañez did help shepherd the Sabrositas line, as well as the Flamin’ Hot Popcorn and Lime & Chile Fritos.
“As a majority-minority state filled with culture and love of Hot Cheetos, we are thrilled that New Mexico will serve as the setting for bringing this story to the big screen,” said state Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes.
According to the Internet Movie Database, Jesse Garcia and Annie Gonzalez will portray Richard and Judy Montañez. Garcia is known for roles in “Quinceañera” and “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” and “Narcos: México,” while Gonzalez is known for her role as Lidia Solis in “Gentefied.”
According to the NM Film Office, the “Flamin’ Hot” production will employ 204 New Mexico crew members, 44 New Mexico principal cast members, and 875 New Mexico background and extras.
“We are excited that the story of an iconic piece of American pop culture will be made in New Mexico, and employ thousands of local cast and crew. We welcome Eva Longoria and the … team of “Flamin’ Hot” to our state,” said Amber Dodson of the New Mexico Film Office.
Director Longoria is joined by DeVon Franklin as producer. The original script is by Lewis Colick and Linda Yvette Chavez.