Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi, is a autobiographical drama film based on the non-fiction book of the same name, written by Margot Lee Shetterly. The film is set in the early ’60s and follows the inspirational story of the African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), who helped NASA catch up in the Space Race. Using their calculations, John Glenn (Glen Powell) became the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of the Earth.
The first Hidden Figures trailer shows the three determined women battling various socio-economic issues of the 1960s, from racial tensions to gender inequality, and the general idea that women are intelligent as men – all set against the background of current civil unrest.
At the time, NASA was hiring as many brainiacs as possible, but segregated women from men, and black women from white women, These three women alone who pushed to be in the same room as men, were responsible for NASA getting ahead in outer space missions, as they discovered the correct mathematical calculations to send an astronaut around the Earth for the very first time.
Taraji P. Henson’s character is based on Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (known as the “human computer”) a highly educated African-American physicist, space scientist, and mathematician who contributed to the United States’ aeronautics and space programs with the early use of digital computers at NASA (and was well-known for her accuracy in computerized space navigation).
In 1962, when NASA used electronic computers for the first time to calculate John Glenn’s orbit around Earth, officials called on her to verify the computer’s number. She calculated the trajectory for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon and contributed heavily to many other space missions. Johnson often referred to herself and her other female colleagues at NASA as “computers who wore skirts,” as she inspired many to climb the ladder and disband segregation.
In a recent interview with Variety, Octavia Spencer explained how important this film is to young women:
“This is a female-driven movie about contributions that women really made, to our world, not just our society.That’s a big statement.”
Hidden Figures also stars Kevin Costner as Al Harrison (director of the NASA Space Program), Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Michael, Jim Parsons as Paul Strafford, and Mahershala Ali as Jim Johnson.
Update: the official Hidden Figures poster was just released:
Hidden Figures will release in theaters on January 13, 2017.
Source: 20th Century Fox