Eva Longoria Says a 'White Male Can Direct a $200 Million Film, Fail and Get Another One' — I Can't

"I get one at-bat, one chance, work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap," she said of making her directing debut with the new movie 'Flamin' Hot'

Nicola Gell/Getty for SXSW
Nicola Gell/Getty for SXSW

Eva Longoria felt the pressure of being a first-time director.

The actress directed the new movie Flamin' Hot, based on the true story of Richard Montañez (played by Jesse Garcia), a Frito-Lay janitor who helped create Flamin' Hot Cheetos snacks.

Speaking at Kering's Women in Motion program at the Cannes Film Festival, Longoria, 48, said, per Variety, that she "felt the weight of my community" and "the weight of every female director" when making the movie.

Longoria said, "We don't get a lot of bites at the apple. My movie wasn't low budget by any means — it wasn't $100 million, but it wasn't $2 million. When was the last Latina-directed studio film? It was like 20 years ago. We can't get a movie every 20 years."

"The problem is if this movie fails, people go, 'Oh, Latino stories don't work … female directors really don't cut it.' We don't get a lot of at-bats," she continued. "A white male can direct a $200 million film, fail and get another one. That's the problem."

"I get one at-bat, one chance, work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap," said the Desperate Housewives actress, who added that "you really carry the generational traumas with you into the making of the film."

"For me, it fueled me. I was determined," she said.

Related: Eva Longoria Calls Directorial Debut 'Flamin' Hot' Film 'Emotional': 'I Don't Even Have Words'

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After Flamin Hot had its debut at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas, Longoria told PEOPLE she was "still on cloud nine" from the "amazing" reviews.

"I can't even believe it and I just can't wait for more people to have access to see it," she said.

Prior to that, at the premiere, Longoria told PEOPLE that the movie's "script and story found its way to me and to my heart, and I was like, 'I have to tell this story.' "

<p>Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic</p>

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

"I have such interest in all the themes that we explore in the movie: underdog story, rags to riches, adversity, and overcoming obstacles," she explained. "All of those things that I was like — these are the themes I want to explore and this is the story I want to tell it through."

"At the same time, it's huge pop culture," Longoria added. "It's one of those origin stories that makes you want to go buy the product. As opposed to, 'I'm never buying that again.' It's a beautiful origin story that you go, 'Wow.' You get really inspired and motivated to go, 'Why not me? I can.' "

Flamin' Hot debuts on Hulu and Disney+ June 9.

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