HIDDEN FIGURES stars on how working at NASA in the 1960s is a little like Hollywood — interview by Stephanie Merry

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“Any upward movement for one of us is upward movement for all,” Octavia Spencer said. “If we don’t get there together, we don’t get there.” The spirit of teamwork also shows up in the plot of their movie, Hidden Figures. During the space race, NASA’s Langley Research Center employed black female mathematicians to calculate, among other things, launch and landing for the country’s first astronauts. After all, John Glenn didn’t make it into space alone, and one person who helped was Katherine Johnson, played by Henson. Spencer and Monáe play two other real-life math virtuosos, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Read more>>

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Stephanie Merry

Stephanie Merry covers movies and pop culture for the Washington Post. A graduate of the poetry program at the University of Virginia, she received a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.