Yep, a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Movie Is Coming & It Actually Sounds Pretty Good

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Hollywood has a knack for exploiting of-the-moment cultural sensations by building very, very, bad movies around them (looking at you, The Angry Birds Movie and The Emoji Movie). That's why, at first, you might scoff at the idea of an entire film about Flamin' Hot Cheetos. However, there is indeed a new movie in the works about the guy who invented the crazy-popular fiery red corn puffs, and it actually sounds like it could be kind of good?

The film, fittingly titled Flamin' Hot, will focus on the true story of Richard Montanez, a Frito-Lay janitor who accidentally invented Flamin' Hot Cheetos back in the '70s, and rose to become a very successful businessman. This isn't going to be some super-low budget affair, either. In fact, per a report in Variety, several big studios were vying to produce the project  before Fox Searchlight won out. 

If you're not familiar with the humble origins of the Flamin' Hot Cheetos, before they began inspiring weird Burger King menu items and bizarre Thanksgiving turkeys, the story is actually quite interesting. Montanez was working as a janitor in a Frito Lay factory in California in 1976 when he took home a bunch of discarded corn puffs that had gone un-cheese powdered due to a mechanical failure in one of the machines. At home, he decided to get a little creative and try turning them into a twist on elotes, a Mexican street food of corn covered in a creamy sauce with cheese and chili spices.

He brought his creation in to let his coworkers try it, and they loved it so much it eventually got the attention of the company president, who gave him two weeks to put together a presentation on this unique new snack. That kicked off what would become his meteoric rise up the corporate ladder, eventually earning him the reputation as the "Godfather of Multicultural Marketing."

In terms of biopics, there have definitely been worse ideas. There are no actors or directors attached to the project yet, but the script is being penned by the guy who wrote October Sky, so we've got our fiery cheese dust-covered fingers crossed that it won't be a total stinker. And if there's any justice in the world, screenings will feature special Flamin' Hot popcorn.


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.