In the trailer for Hidden Figures—a long overdue science movie with black women as the focal point—Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe portray NASA mathematicians whose contributions to space travel were historically under-celebrated.
The film is based on the eponymous book by Margot Lee Shetterly about NASA team members Katherine Johnson (whose literal job title at NASA was “computer,” damn; Henson plays her), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Monáe), specifically their work on NASA’s Mercury and Apollo missions.
The story focuses on the work and challenges behind the successful spaceflight of astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. The film will be the first time the contributions of African American scientists to that effort have been the focus of story about the space race on film.
The trailer first shows Johnson as a young genius reciting math terms that boggle my mind. A teacher tells her mom, “I’ve never seen a mind like the one your daughter has. You have to see what she becomes.”
Plenty of attention is called to their positions as women—“They let women do some things at NASA,” Henson jokes, as Katherine Johnson—and as black women. “Every time we have a chance to move ahead, they move the finish line,” says Monáe, as Mary Jackson. This movie looks both purposefully-YAS and legitimately inspiring and hits theaters on January 13, 2017.