Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the fiery-red stoner snack that’s since inexplicably found its way into Burger King side dishes and Thanksgiving turkey recipes, is now getting its own feature film. Fox Searchlight has signed on to produce Flamin’ Hot, a biopic about Richard Montanez, the former Frito-Lay janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
The film will tell the story of how Montanez, the son of migrant farm workers, rose through the ranks of the snack world to become the “godfather of multicultural marketing.” (He started working at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga, California factory as a janitor in 1976; now, he’s a frequent motivational speaker and the executive vice president of multicultural sales and community activation for PepsiCo, the parent company of Frito-Lay).
The origin story of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, as with many things, appears to be a happy accident. As Montanez told Inc. in 2016, he was inspired when a machine breakdown in the Frito-Lay caused a batch of Cheetos to go un-cheese-powdered. He took the rejected puffed-corn items home and made them into his own version of elotes, a popular Mexican street food that combines corn, mayonnaise, cheese, and chile. “I see the corn man adding butter, cheese, and chile to the corn and thought, what if I add chile to a Cheeto?” he told Inc. of the light-bulb moment. And a delicious health panic was born.
No word yet on who will star as Montanez, but the film’s just the latest in a string of food-related biopics: The Founder, which told the story of McDonald’s mastermind Ray Kroc, hit theaters in 2016. Stay tuned for updates on Flamin’ Hot as they become available.