Pharrell Williams serves as the composer and a producer for the Fox 2000 film that stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe. At Deadline’s The Contenders event today at the DGA Theatre, he told moderator Dominic Patten what attracted him to the project. “It’s three African-American protagonists, female protagonists.” The idea that these women were scientists and engineers made it a no-brainer for him.
Hidden Figures is based on the true story of NASA’s Katherine Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Monáe), who were the unsung heroes behind the early NASA space launches. “I think those brilliant women were a victim of the era and circumstance,” Williams said. “Up until recently, a women’s contribution to history has often been dismissed and discounted and oftentimes erased from public acknowledgment.”
Williams spoke at a rally Thursday in North Carolina to urge attendees to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. On the panel today, he continued his thoughts about the election: “We see something crazy going on in our nation, and there’s an incredibly decisive wind,” he said. “There’s a guy that figured out how to fly his kite in that wind, but I see a victory. When you push women down, you’re pushing them to stand up even stronger.”
Williams, whose previous Hollywood foray was the Oscar-nominated Despicable Me 2 theme song “Happy,” composed the Hidden Figures music with Hans Zimmer and who is also a producer of the film.
It also stars Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Costner, Glen Powell and Jim Parsons. Director Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder co-wrote the script, and Donna Gigliotti is producing with Chernin Entertainment and Melfi. The film’s Oscar-qualifying run begins in theaters on Christmas Day before going wide on January 6.