20th Century Fox has unveiled the first trailer for Hidden Figures, which tells the little-known true story of the brilliant African American NASA women whose work was crucial to one of our nation’s greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae star as Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson respectively, whose calculations were crucial to NASA’s space program, but who also faced discrimination both as women and as African Americans.
Johnson in particular calculated the trajectory of Alan Shepherd’s historic space flight as well as the launch window for the 1961 Mercury mission, and when NASA started implementing the use of computers, Johnson and her team were trusted with verifying the computer’s numbers—these people literally fact-checked computers, that’s how smart they were.
While this story could easily have become one of those schmaltzy Lifetime Original Movies, this trailer is mighty promising as the film looks to pull back the curtain on a largely unknown underdog story with a measured tone and chemistry to spare. Indeed, the charisma of Henson, Spencer, and Monae is palpable, and the prospect of taking a close look at the uphill battle these incredibly smart women faced during a tumultuous period in our nation’s history (Glenn’s flight was in 1962) is highly enticing.
Check out the first Hidden Figures trailer below. Directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent), the film is poised to get an Oscar-qualifying run in NY and LA in late December before opening in theaters nationwide on January 13, 2017. Moreover, Pharrell Williams serves as both a producer and co-composer for the film, writing a series of original songs. His other composter? Hans Zimmer, of course. Hidden Figures also stars Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, and Glen Powell.
Here’s the official synopsis for Hidden Figures:
HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)-brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.