For Eva Longoria to have the chance to direct “Flamin’ Hot,” she says she had to “overcome the stigma of being a dumb actor.”
“I’m more than the actor you know from TV,” she tells Variety‘s Awards Circuit Podcast. “I’ve been directing for 12 years. I started with short films. I directed episodic TV, half-hours, one-hours, dramas, comedies, baby pilots, and big pilots. I’ve touched every rung of the ladder.”
On this Variety Awards Circuit Podcast episode, we sit with Longoria to discuss the chance to helm the inspirational true story of a Latino who achieved the American dream. In addition, the Awards Circuit Roundtable discusses the continuation of the SAG-AFTRA strikes and how that will affect the awards season, with actors unable to campaign.
The “Desperate Housewives” alum is making her feature directorial debut with “Flamin’ Hot,” an inspirational story about a Frito-Lay janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The Hulu/Searchlight production won the audience award at the SXSW Film Festival. When it was released in June, the studio announced it was the most-watched streaming movie on its platform.
Getting the chance to helm this project wasn’t easy for Longoria, and as she looks to the future, she gets candid about Hollywood and what opportunities will be afforded to POC. She feels a case of “diversity fatigue” is going on in Hollywood.
“Sometimes they say, ‘Oh well, you’re only on that list because they needed a Latina, so you’re the token one,’” Longoria says. “No, we have a large pool of talented directors, writers, producers, actors that don’t get the opportunity.”
She’s also walking the walk; as announced recently, Longoria and her longtime friend Cris Abrego (Banijay’s chairman of the Americas) joined forces to launch Hyphenate Media Group, a company focusing on production, talent scouting, and a business incubator.
You can see the makings of it through her cast and artisans. Boasting an incredible ensemble that includes Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert, Tony Shalhoub and Emilio Rivera, the heartwarming “Flamin’ Hot” script by Linda Yvette Chávez and Lewis Colick shows an authentic story that gives many underseen artists their overdue spotlight. Moreover, a chart-topping and original song, “The Fire Inside,” performed by Becky G and written by Oscar darling Diane Warren, will surely be in the mix for a nom.
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.