On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the 5th person in space and first American.
His flight was imperative in the space race and actually getting a man on the moon. He couldn’t have done this alone, it took a team of NASA scientists to get him up there, and among those, it took Katherine Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Monáe) to help them. They not only overcame not only the odds of being a woman in a “man’s” world of science and math but also being an African-American in a time of segregation.
If you’re reading this and asking yourself why don’t you already know about these women, you’re not alone. I personally wasn’t aware of the women, and neither were any of the main cast before reading the script. In the above interview, Octavia Spencer talks about how she first thought the script was historical fiction, Taraji P. Henson tells us how disturbed she was that she didn’t know, Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons discuss how they thought they knew the history but didn’t, Janelle Monae says how she was excited to celebrate the women, and all three leading ladies talk about what people will feel and why this film and story is important right now.
Hidden Figures releases next Friday, January 6, 2017.