The Flamin’ Hot cast on the upcoming inspirational story

Flamin' Hot
Flamin' Hot /

We often have seen biopics come to the big screen, but the latest comes in the form of a film about the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos titled Flamin’ Hot. I had the chance to sit down with cast members Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert, and Matt Walsh about their roles in the film.

Flamin’ Hot follows Richard Montanez, a janitor at Frito Lay that has an idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Montanez’s rise to the top wasn’t easy as he battled life, race, and many more things to get his idea to the head of the table. The film features the directorial debut of Eva Longoria and was written by Linda Yvette Chávez and Lewis Colick. It will debut on Disney+ and Hulu at the same time on June 9, 2023.

"Excerpt from my review: This isn’t your prototypical biopic, as this one is infused with love and passion for sharing this incredible journey of not just one man but a family. You can watch this movie and learn so much about resilience, passion, and fighting, but the underlining story that I loved was how Richard’s wife stood by that man’s side throughout his good and bad and formed him into the man he was and without her, he would’ve never made it."

I sat down with Flamin’ Hot cast members Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert, and Matt Walsh to discuss the upcoming Hulu/Disney+ film. You can check out the interview here.

Flamin’ Hot Cast talking about the upcoming inspirational story

Hidden Remote: What was your approach to Richard as you are taking on a role of a real person?

Jesse Garcia: Because it’s a very vulnerable story that they’re telling, and digging into a lot of the past that they’ve been trying, they’ve worked really hard to become, you know, the people we know, the people we know today. You know what, you’re not that you know the old school cholos. They’re still gangsters, but for me, it was like I told it to him, like I just want you to know that I’m not going to be doing an imitation of you. I’m not going to be mimicking your voice your, your mannerisms, or anything like that.

The important thing for me is to tell your story in an honest way, and he and I can see that he was like, oh, interesting. So when he visited the set, he and the family were doing this one scene in particular. They made a cameo in the movie where we’re passing out the Hot Cheetos to people in the park, and they were at one of the picnic benches, and we got to have a scene with them which was really cool.

But they’re the scene with Annie and me in the car right before Richard gets arrested. We’re shooting that and improvising, and she’s hitting me and all the things they call cut. And we went over to video village where everyone was standing, and Richard and Judy were there, and they were crying like, Oh my God, that’s what I would say. And I really hit him at that moment right when he got arrested, and like they were crying, and we were crying and Richard. Like hugs me, looks me in the eyes, and goes, OK, I get it. I understand what you guys are doing, you know. So it was good validation. It was very early in the shoot. So it was a great moment for Judy and Richard to be comfortable with what we were doing.

Hidden Remote: Judy, for me, was the heart and soul of this film as the backbone for Richard, what was it like playing the role?

Annie Gonzalez: Oh my gosh, it is a dream come true. The second I read the script and saw what type of woman Judy is, I was like, I have never seen something this beautiful depicted on the page. It made my job so flippin’ easy to go up there and do the work and then to work alongside Eva and Jesse, who are masters at their craft.

Hidden Remote: What attracted you to the role of Lonny?

Matt Walsh: I was working with Eva on a movie while she was preparing to direct this. She was sharing, you know, pictures of sets and scripts and actors. So I was sort of aware of the project, but I wasn’t a candidate for anything. And then, when she had gotten into production, she texted me and said, you want to come out to Albuquerque and jump in as Lonnie? And I said, yeah, I’d love to.

Hidden Remote: What kind of research or preparation did you do to get into the role of Clarence?

Dennis Haysbert: You know, I shot from the hip. I mean, there’s not too many factories that you could have gone to, you know, and the set was so authentic that I like to think sometimes, and it sounds kind of crazy, but it’s the way I work. I kind of channel I when go to work. And if the surroundings are, you know, supportive enough and authentic enough, you just kind of fall into it. And working with machines that you’re not really doing anything with. You have to massage your way through it, so to speak, and then just deal with everyone around you. And Eva, who was spectacular, was very, very helpful. You know, she’s got a love for actors that is unparalleled.

Hidden Remote: With the film being about Flamin’ Hot Chips, what is your favorite potato chip?

Garcia: I like Jerky. (He was talking about beef jerky)

Gonzalez: I like kettle chips, you know, like any sort that are crunchy.

Walsh: I’d go sour cream and onion.

Haysbert: I’m just a Lays potato chip guy.

Next. Flamin’ Hot movie review: Why Flamin’ Hot is the most inspirational film of the year. dark

Flamin’ Hot will be streaming on Hulu and Disney+ on June 9, 2023.