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The Dad Who Invented Hot Cheetos Is Getting A Movie About His Life

Richard Montanez, a father of three, went from a Frito-Lay janitor to the mastermind behind Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Now, his story's getting the Hollywood treatment.

Fox Searchlight has just announced plans to move ahead with a film about the brilliant and revolutionary mind behind Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The film, titled Flamin’ Hot (of course), will tell the story of Richard Montanez — better known as the hero humanity needs but doesn’t deserve —  as he goes from working as a janitor at Frito-Lay to becoming the worldwide snack boss and corporate dynamo people affectionately call “the Godfather of Multicultural Marketing.”

Before Fox Searchlight secured the rights to Montanez’ story, several studios were locked in a fierce battle to make the film. Montanez’s story isn’t just inspirational; it also ties in with the current debate around immigration policy. Before he worked for Frito-Lay starting in 1976, Montanez — who is the son of an immigrant — grew up picking grapes on a farm in Southern California. When Montanez came up with the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which he based off the Mexican snack of  he had no idea that the concept would end up being worth billions of dollars, as people everywhere fell in love with the radioactive-looking snacks.

Per an interview with Inc. back in 2016, Montanez came up with the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos when a broken machine at the Frito-Lay factory produced a small batch of cheeseless, unsellable Cheetos.  Montaneztook the defective batch home and used them to create a new spin on elotes. the popular Mexican street food consisting of corn on the cob slathered in mayo, cheese, and chile powder.

The Flamin’ Hot film will be produced by DeVon Franklin, who’s best known for his work on The Karate Kid as well as The Pursuit of Happyness, while Lewis Colick will write the script based on a story idea by Franklin and Montanez.