CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Flamin' Hot" is a new movie inspired by the life of a maintenance man at Frito Lay, who helped create one of the most popular snack foods ever.
The movie is Eva Longoria's first feature film as a director and is available to stream on Hulu and Disney+ starting Friday.
Longoria came to the ABC7 Chicago studios with actor Matt Walsh to tell Hosea Sanders how "Flamin' Hot" pays tribute to her Mexican heritage
Longoria said this project was special.
"I fell in love with Richard Montañez's story; for a Mexican janitor, to work his way up to a high level executive at a company like PepsiCo was truly inspiring," Longoria said. "And, to be the man responsible for one of my favorite snacks, Flamin' Hot, I thought, 'He's Mexican-American. I'm Mexican-American. How do I not know this story?'"
"Flamin' Hot" was the opportunity to put a different type of hero in the spotlight, one that audiences may not always see.
"Hollywood gets to define what heroes look like and they never look like Richard, they're never Brown, they never sound like my dad, they never look like us - me," Longoria said.
"They don't look like me either, let's be honest!" joked actor Matt Walsh
Walsh is from Chicago and honed his comedy skills here. He enjoyed bringing those skills to "Flamin' Hot."
"Eva created for the actors a very safe place to take chances," Walsh said.
"More difficult for Matt because he was one of the only non-Latinos on set and now he's an honorary Mexican," Longoria said.
"My Spanish got a little better," Walsh said.
Longoria felt driven to tell positive Latino stories.
"I wished for this to happen, I prayed for this movie to get made," Longoria said.
Longoria felt the importance of making this film.
"We don't get a lot of bites of the apple, there's not a lot of Latina filmmakers making major studio films, so I did feel like, we've got to get this right, if not, it's going to be another 20 years before they give us another chance," Longoria said.
Longoria has a long history with ABC, playing Gaby Solis on "Desperate Housewives." She said her character would thrive in present day.
"Oh, she'd definitely be an influencer, she'd be ruling Instagram, she might have invented Instagram," Longoria said.
Longoria also hosts a cooking travel show "Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico" on CNN.
"I wanted specifically the people of the United States to see the beautiful people of Mexico, and the beautiful country that I know it to be," Longoria said.
Longoria said there is a lot for audiences to take away from Richard Montañez's story.
"I want them so see the movie and go wow, that guy went through all that and still came out on top," Longoria said. "He didn't just survive he's thriving in spite of it, imagine what I can do, imagine what I can do with my life."
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