Variety is reporting that The Help actress Octavia Spencer will be given the chance to prove she’s made of The Right Stuff in upcoming NASA race picture, Hidden Figures.
Setting up shop at Fox 2000, the real-life drama is to be directed by Ted Melfi (St. Vincent), and chronicles the true story of the black women that helped cement NASA’s status as a pioneer of mathematicians and scientists during its formative years. It’s understood Spencer has been cast as the former, and will star opposite Taraji P. Henson.
Lifting inspiration from Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed novel, Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, Fox 2000’s awards-friendly feature looks set to bring the untold story of NASA’s African-American talent to the big screen, with the drama unfolding around the momentous launch of John Glenn into orbit.
Becoming the first American to orbit the Earth in the early 60s, Glenn’s success story stole headlines all over the globe, though Hidden Figures will shine a light on the brilliant minds that facilitate the launch of Friendship 7 in the first place. Variety notes that Henson is on board to play Johnson, “a brilliant African-American mathematician who, along with her colleagues Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history.” From what we gather, Spencer will step into the shoes of either Vaughn or Jackson.
Hidden Figures has already been pegged for a January 13, 2017, slotting into a corridor that is ripe for next year’s awards circuits. Spencer, on the other hand, will reprise her role in next month’s Allegiant.