Flamin’ Hot Stars Reveal Meeting the Real Richard and Judy Montanez (Exclusive)

One of the most unconventional origin stories of this year might be Flamin’ Hot, the upcoming film that recounts how the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto came to be. The project chronicles the surprising true story of the snack’s creator, Richard Montez (Jesse Garcia), and his wife Judy Montez (Annie Gonzalez), and it sounds like they had a unique outlook on the entire project. In a recent interview with ComicBook.com‘s Chris Killian, Garcia and Gonzalez spoke about the unique experience of getting the real Richard and Judy’s blessing.

“Yes!” Gonzalez explained in our interview, which you can check out above. “And it was absolutely fantastic. I love them very much. Oh my gosh, we had to — I know I had to, because there is nothing online about Judy at all.”

“It’s interesting because I didn’t feel a lot of — the pressure I felt was to make sure that I made Richard and Judy and the family comfortable with what we were gonna do,” Garcia elaborated. “We were hired because we were able to embody Richard and Judy, and so we can tell the story. And at that point, the trains already moving, and Richard and Judy just kind of have to be passengers. They’ll have some input. But, there was a couple of scenes — one in particular where we’re arguing in the car, right before Richard is arrested — that Richard and Judy were on set, and the kids were on set. She called cut, and we went back and Richard and Judy are crying. They’re like ‘That’s exactly what happened! And that’s what I said! I hit him just like that!’ And everyone’s crying and Richard comes up to me and he goes ‘I get it, man. I get it, and I see what you’re doing.’ It’s a very vulnerable position for Richard and Judy to be in, to tell their story from very early on to now. They didn’t want to dig up a lot of that past, but it was important for them to show the arc of the story.”

What is Flamin’ Hot about?

Flamin’ Hot is inspired by the true story of Richard Monta?ez (Jesse Garcia) who as a Frito-Lay janitor disrupted the food industry by channeling his Mexican-American heritage to turn Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from a snack into an iconic global pop culture phenomenon.

The cast of Flamin’ Hot also includes Annie Gonzalez, Emilio Rivera, Dennis Haysbert, Matt Walsh, Pepe Serna, Bobby Soto, Jimmy Gonzales, Brice Gonzalez, and Tony Shalhoub.

Is Flamin’ Hot a true story?

A 2021 report seemed to indicate that Monta?ez’s claims about inventing the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto were urban legend, but his story was ultimately backed up by Cheetos’ parent company, Frito-Lay.

“A great deal has been recently discussed about the origin of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The information we shared with the media has been misconstrued by some, which resulted in confusion around where we stand, a range of emotions among our employees and consumers and a strain on our valued friendship with Richard Monta?ez and the Latino community,” Pepsi’s final statement on the matter said. “The sincere truth is, at PepsiCo, we believe in the strength and power of teams, and we attribute the launch and success of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and other products to several people who worked at PepsiCo, including Richard Monta?ez. Different work streams tackling the same product without interacting occasionally occurred in the past when divisions operated independently and were not the best at communicating. However, just because we can’t draw a clear link between them, doesn’t mean we don’t embrace all of their contributions and ingenuity, including Richard’s.”

Are you excited for Flamin’ Hot? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Flamin’ Hot will debut on both Disney+ and Hulu on Friday, June 9th.