Eva Longoria’s prestige project “Flamin’ Hot,” about the inventor of the spicy Cheetos snack, has found its stars in actors Jesse Garcia and Annie Gonzalez.
An award-winning actor and prolific TV director, Longoria is ramping up to a feature directorial era with the Searchlight project, which tells the inspirational story of Richard Montañez. A janitor at Frito Lay, Montañez took inspiration from his Mexican American heritage to create the wildly popular snack Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Garcia will play Montañez and Gonzalez will portray his wife Judy. Additionally, Linda Yvette Chavez has taken a pass on the script from writer Lewis Colick (“October Sky”). Chavez is the acclaimed creator of the Netflix original series “Gentefied,” and also adapted the upcoming directorial debut from America Ferrera, the Netflix original “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.”
Longoria said it has been “my biggest priority to make sure we are telling Richard Montañez’s story authentically. I am so happy to have two extremely talented and fellow Mexican Americans on board in these pivotal roles. Jesse and Annie have a deep understanding of our community and will be able to help tell this story of great importance for our culture.”
Filming is set to commence this summer in New Mexico. Searchlight has yet to set a release date. DeVon Franklin is producing, with Searchlight’s vice president of production Taylor Friedman and director of development Zahra Phillips overseeing for the studio.
Garcia broke out as the star of films like the 2006 Sundance grand jury prize winner “Quinceañera,” for which he won the ALMA Award for best actor, and Searchlight’s “Under the Same Moon.” His credits also include “The Avengers” and FX’s “Snowfall.” He is repped by APA, Mosaic, and Offer-Weber-Dern.
Gonzalez is a Chicana actress and East Los Angeles native who grew up singing in the influential band Quetzal. In addition to her work in the ensemble of “Gentefied,” Gonzalez’s credits include “Vida,” “Shameless” and “Legion.” She was recently cast in the ABC pilot “Bucktown” opposite Jane Lynch and Nicole Richie, and is an active YouTuber. She is repped by Smith & Hervey/Grimes Talent, Principle Entertainment, and Granderson/Des Rochers.
Writer Chavez is with WME, and The Mission Entertainment.