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Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson to Star in Movie About the African-American Women Behind the Space Race

To the moon!

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Last summer development was announced on an adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Behind the Space Raceher book about African-American NASA engineers Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder, Eunice Smith and Barbara Holley. These incredible mathematicians played an invaluable role in the Moon mission, but their contributions have been largely ignored in accounts of the space race. Shetterly wrote on her blog,

Hidden Figures recovers the history of these pioneering women and situates it in the intersection of the defining movements of the American century: the Cold War, the Space Race, the Civil Rights movement and the quest for gender equality….Though they did the same work as the white women hired at the time, they were cloistered away in their own segregated office in the West Area of the Langley campus– thus the moniker, the West Computers. But despite the hardships of working under Virginia’s Jim Crow laws, these women went on to make significant contributions to aeronautics, astronautics, and America’s victory over the Soviet Union in the Space Race.

Now, we’ve got some super rad casting news to get us even more excited for Hidden Figures! Taraji P. Henson (Empire) will be playing Katherine Johnson and Janelle Monáe will be portraying Mary Jackson. Octavia Spencer is also set to play Dorothy Vaughan. Ted Melfi (St. Vincent, Winding Roads) is slated to direct for a January 2017 release date.

How hype are you for this movie, gang? Considering the casting and subject matter, we couldn’t be more excited.

(via io9, image via Featureflash/

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