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Monday, July 13, 2015

Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race, in the Works

Photo: Tambay A. Obenson
"This is the kind of wonderfully atypical Civil Rights-era story that gets me excited!" according to Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act.

Margot Lee Shetterly. 
Photo: NASA/David C. Bowman

Author Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, "Hidden Figures," which actually won't be published until next year, via HarperCollins, has been optioned for Ted Melfi to direct (he's the director of last year's acclaimed dramedy "St. Vincent," which starred Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, and Naomi Watts. Terrence Howard played a supporting role in the film, which was Melfi's feature directorial debut).

Shetterly's "Hidden Figures" tells the untold true story of the African American women mathematicians - Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder, Eunice Smith and Barbara Holley - who worked at NASA during the Civil Rights era. The book will tell their story through the personal accounts of 4 specific women that then-NASA staffers referred to as “the colored computers.” Shetterly, whose father was one of the first African American engineers employed by NASA, is a journalist.

According to Deadline, the book was optioned and developed by producer Donna Gigliotti (producer of Oscar-caliber fare like "Shakespeare In Love" and "Silver Linings Playbook"), with Allison Schroeder penning the screenplay adaptation, which Fox is in talks to acquire, with an early 2016 production start date eyed.

Unfortunately, the book won't be out until next year; but I did come across the following statement from the author on her motivations for writing it: "You've heard the names John Glenn, Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong. What about Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder, Eunice Smith or Barbara Holley? Most Americans have no idea that from the 1940s through the 1960s, a cadre of African-American women formed part of the country’s space work force, or that this group—mathematical ground troops in the Cold War—helped provide NASA with the raw computing power it needed to dominate the heavens...

Check out the author's website here, which is where I lifted the above statement.
Read more...

Source: Indie Wire (blog)


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