synopsis Leveraging his Mexican-American pedigree as a Frito-Lay janitor, Flamin Hot transformed the food industry by turning Flamin Hot Cheetos from a snack into an iconic global pop culture phenomenon, Richard Montañez ( Jesse Garcia)’s touching true story.
- evaluation: PG-13 (Strong Words | Brief Pharmaceutical Information)
- Genre: comedy, drama, biopic
- Original language: English
- directed by: Eva Longoria
- producer: Devon Franklin
- Writer: Linda Yvette, Louis Collick
- Release date (theater): exclusive
- Release date (streaming):
- Wholesaler: Searchlight photo
Exclusive interview with actor Dennis Haysbert
Q: Did you eat hot Cheetos when you were a kid? Do you have any memories of eating hot Cheetos?
DH: No real memory. At that time, I liked snacks in general. So I would have eaten it. It was fun because I was there all the time. Yes, but I couldn’t eat it while filming. Because the orange stuff got on my tongue. [and the color stayed there].
Q: The makeup people must have hated it.
DH: I had to keep brushing my tongue. “Okay, Dennis, no more Cheetos.”
Q: You grew up as the eighth of nine children and have many sisters and brothers, like Richard Montanes, the inventor of Cheetos. How relevant was it to his childhood development?
DH: About the same. I grew up next door to my youngest son, so luckily or unfortunately, many older brothers and sisters paved the way for me. I was the only actor to come out of my family, but I learned everything by watching my brothers and sisters’ everyday antics. So did Richard and his family, they were always very supportive. Of course, there will always be one or two of his opponents, but they are part of the family too.
Q: Have you had the opportunity to speak with Clarence C. Baker? How was the character developed?
DH: Yes, he actually existed. He did everything he was said to have done in the movies. I actually met Richard Montanes and he gave a lot of insight into Clarence and spoke of him with affection. It had such a positive effect on my mind. I really loved this guy because he had all the problems he had. Something like that came out. Jesse’s character, Richard Montanes, is trying to please Jesse. Although he was very resistant at first, it turned out that this person was a good person who deserved his help.
Q: Where did you feel the charm of each other’s bond? They kind of needed each other and helped each other. They encourage each other’s visions and dreams. There is a really strong bond there.
DH: What intrigued me about this piece was that no one believed that these two men from different cultures could come together like this. I always say, “No, that’s wrong.” Everyone believes that anything is possible if they understand or put themselves in a position to understand. You can be friends just like us, and I think that our cultures, whether it’s black culture or Latin American culture, even Japanese culture, are similar because they’re all based on love, family, and heart. I understand.
Q: You started your career in TV series in the 70’s. Like Richard in this movie, it’s really hard to keep your vision and your dreams alive. How does he keep up with his vision and dreams when he gets knocked down as an actor so many times? You’ve found success playing President David Palmer in TV series like ’24’. I had a consistent job, but I had to keep working. How do you keep your visions and dreams alive in spite of your struggles?
DH: Life is a struggle. It wasn’t unusual for me. i love what i do. I grow every time I work. That’s the key. We must continue to grow, change and evolve. If you don’t, you’ll stagnate, so let’s stop. I have a lot of roles to do and a lot of things I want to do. I can’t stop.
Q: Director Eva Longoria really believed in this story and was very passionate about the project and the film. What was it like working with her on her set? Not only did she have great directorial vision, but she has also been an actor for a long time. She also had to figure out her acting perspective. Talk about her collaborations, about working with her.
DH: Working with Eva was really great because she’s such a good actor. She brought her acting ability to her directing ability, which helped us discover and perpetuate what we wanted to do as actors. She gave us the freedom to discover who we are as characters. She had such a gentle hand in directing, and there was a lot of encouragement there, but it all came down to love, what she was doing, and what the actors could do to support the system in place. It’s the love of She was the mother on set, we were all her children, and she wanted the best out of all this.
Q: There was a scene in the movie when your character, Clarence, approached Richard (played by Jesse Garcia) when the Flamin’ Hot Snacks didn’t sell at first and actually encouraged him to try it again instead of giving it away. Up. Talk about creating a dynamic scene with Jesse, because it is a very important moment in his character’s life.
DH: We all hit a wall sometimes. That wall of doubt and anxiety. And sometimes I want someone to push me and say, All you have to do is get hit. It’s like a boxing match. Even if you go down, stand up, take a count of 8 while standing, and continue. Because basically that’s what I was encouraging him to do, and in doing so, Clarence would have failed if he couldn’t keep moving forward. Those things inspired me. For some men, you have to step up. Basically, he’s telling himself to step up.
Q: That’s true.
DH: You can’t step up without stepping up. So that’s what I’m trying to do, and luckily it worked.
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Here is the trailer for the movie.