HomeInterviewsFlamin' Hot : Exclusive Interview Actor Jesse Garcia on Playing Richard Montañez

Flamin’ Hot : Exclusive Interview Actor Jesse Garcia on Playing Richard Montañez

Synopsis : FLAMIN’ HOT is the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez (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.

  • Rating: PG-13 (Some Strong Language|Brief Drug Material)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Biography
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Eva Longoria
  • Producer: Devon Franklin
  • Writer: Linda Yvette, Lewis Colick
  • Release Date (Theaters):  Limited
  • Release Date (Streaming):
  • Runtime:
  • Distributor: Searchlight Pictures


Exclusive Interview Actor Jesse Garcia


Q: Did you grow up eating hot Cheetos when you were a child? Do you have a fond memory of eating Cheetos? 

J.G: I grew up eating normal Cheetos. I missed the Hot Cheetos movement. It was just during a small gap where I missed it. I had my first Hot Cheeto during the making of the movie.

Q: Did you talk to Richard prior to making the actual film? Did he talk about the empowerment video by Roger Enrico that was from the time when he got the spark from Roger. 

J.G: Not really. I left all of that to Eva, DeVon and Richard to deal with. I just went along with what was in the script.

Q: It’s difficult to maintain your vision and dream like Richard did in this film. How do you maintain your vision or dream, no matter how many times you get beat down as an actor?

J.G : There’ve been a bunch of times that I said, “what am I doing?” It can be a hard business and more than anything, it’s not the rejection, it just gets a little hard on your soul. It’s like “Am I doing the right thing?” At the end of the day, you have conversations with your friends and then, a job will come around and it’ll kind of renew your spark for the love of acting and the business. But I also do other things like remodeling houses. I mess with cars. It’s important to have a life outside of your acting career so that you aren’t only focused on acting. It also enriches your life so that you have something else to bring to your business.

Q: What’s amazing about the relationship between Richard and his wife Judy, is that Judy supported his making all the hot spicy products at the house and stuff like that. Did you talk with Judy as well to understand how their relationship worked?

J.G : I met with Richard and Judy right before we shot the movie. She made me enchiladas, I met the family and hung out for a few hours before I flew out to Albuquerque. We talked about what their pet names were, what their relationship was like and how it was when he was working in the factory and she would pack him lunch and stuff like that. The cool details that aren’t in the script.

Q: Speaking of his wife, played by Annie Gonzalez, you had good chemistry in this film. Talk about that relationship working with Annie. How did you create that bond? Did you do any improv to create that dynamic? 

J.G : We just naturally have had that chemistry.  I’ve known Annie for about a year and a half before we got cast in the movie. So we teased each other and try to make each other laugh on set. It was all that — it was natural. We didn’t have to build any of that. We’re super close.

Q: Eva Longoria really believed in this story and was really passionate about directing the film as well. What was in the collaboration with her that surprised you? How did her experience as an actor bring something to her directing?

J.G : You know what surprised me… Well, it didn’t really surprise me, but it was the amount of preparation that she did. She knew what she wanted, she had a very specific vision, and surrounded herself with people that would help her with that vision including the actors.

She found the best people for the job —for the cast and crew as well. It was very collaborative. All ideas were welcome. Her and I are kind of super similar so we could see each other from across the room and know what the other person was saying whether it was notes on acting and directing or whether it’s just a joke, you know what I mean? It’s like her and I have one of those unique and special relationships where we probably knew each other in the past life.

Q: Richard said in an interview that he found their home numbers on the company’s phone book. It’s obviously surprising to call him directly. Did you and talk about that first time he called home to Roger because it had such a momentum, for him to do things like that.

J.G : It probably would have been a cool conversation. But no, we never had that conversation. Next time I do this movie, I will have a conversation with him about that.

Q: In talking to Richard, what did you learn about his character that’s not in the film? What about him surprised you?

J.G: He’s a very sweet guy but you can tell that he grew up in East L A. He grew up having a rough life and you can’t get rid of that. He’s a very different man now, but there’s always a part of you that knows where you came from and you just can’t get rid of that. I was able to add a little bit of that and it’s there as well, so it didn’t surprise me. It was more like an observation. I’m from Wyoming, I grew up in the country so whether I’m a city boy or not there’s always going to be a little bit of country in me.

Q: Richard was inspired very much inspired by Roger. But who has inspired you to become who you are as an actor?

J.G: Oh man, there’s so many that I look up to. You put me on the spot. Viola Davis is one — she’s great. Tom Hardy. Oscar Isaac. There’s so many directors. Eva inspires me. My dog inspires me. Food inspires me. Water inspires me.

Q: There’s a question that circulating on the internet that the story of the flaming’ hot origin story didn’t happen as the film suggests? What do you think about that personally?

J.G: Here’s what I’ll say about that is that we leave Richard and Judy to answer those questions because they know the details. I will say  I believe in Richard. We made a beautiful movie and that’s really my only input on that.

Here’s the trailer of the film.
Nobuhiro Hosoki
Nobuhiro Hosokihttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Nobuhiro Hosoki grew up watching American films since he was a kid; he decided to go to the United States thanks to seeing the artistry of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange.” After graduating from film school, he worked as an assistant director on TV Tokyo’s program called "Morning Satellite" at the New York branch office but he didn’t give up on his interest in cinema. He became a film reporter for via Yahoo Japan News. In that role, he writes news articles, picks out headliners for Yahoo News, as well as interviewing Hollywood film directors, actors, and producers working in the domestic circuit in the USA. He also does production interviews for Japanese distributors of American films and for in-theater on-sale programs. He is now the editor-in-chief of Cinemadailyus.com while continuing his work for Japan.


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