EXCLUSIVE: Jim Parsons has joined director Ted Melfi’s Hidden Figures, as the head engineer at the Space Task Group at NASA. Parsons is best known for his role as the geeky physicist Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. The character he created, which is beloved by fans, has earned him four Lead Actor Emmys over the years.

Hidden Figures, however, is a serious turn for Parsons as the Fox 2000 film is about a team of unsung heroes in American history: African-American female math wizards who helped NASA win the space race. Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae star as the trio of mathematicians who help out the space program. Parsons joins Kevin Costner and Kirsten Durst in the film, which also co-stars Glen Powell as astronaut John Glenn and House Of Cards’ Mahershala Ali as Henson’s love interest.

The project, which is underway, is expected in theaters next January. The film is an adaptation the Margot Lee Shetterly book and was optioned and developed by producer Donna Gigliotti, who is producing with Chernin Entertainment. The script is by Allison Schroeder.

Parsons is repped by CAA, Principal Entertainment, and Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown.