Women's History Month

Jessica Chastain Is Producing Another Untold Story Of Women And The Space Program

If you liked "Hidden Figures," this one's for you.

In recent months, Hidden Figures has proven a critical and box office success. The film, which tells the true story of NASA's Black female mathematicians in the 1960s, just passed La La Land to become the highest-grossing Best Picture Oscar nominee of 2016. The positive response from audiences and critics is a major step forward for onscreen diversity and highlights the importance of telling women's stories.

If you loved Hidden Figures, you'll be excited to learn that Jessica Chastain is producing yet another untold story about women and NASA, this time as a television event series. According to Deadline, the project, which is tentatively titled Mercury 13, also takes place in the early 1960s and will focus on a group of women striving to be accepted into the space program.

After seven male astronauts, including John Glenn, were chosen for NASA's Project Mercury in 1958, Dr. William Randolph Lovelace II recruited female pilots for an experiment to determine if women could be suitable candidates for astronaut training. Thirteen of the women passed the same rigorous tests as the Mercury Seven, but without official NASA approval, additional testing was shut down, and the women were not permitted into the space program.


The women wrote to President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson, and Congressional hearings were held which investigated gender discrimination two years before the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Nothing came of it, however, and women were not selected as astronaut candidates until 1978. The first American woman in space was Sally Ride in 1983.

The project, to be penned by Sully screenwriter Todd Komarnicki, will recount an important moment in the history of women's fight for equal rights, and, as with Hidden Figures, will hopefully inspire more young women to pursue careers in male-dominated fields.

Jessica Chastain, who could star in the series as well as producing it, is proving herself to be a champion for women in the film industry. She even previously played an astronaut in 2015's The Martian.

While talking to IndieWire about her powerful role in last year's Miss Sloane, Chastain shared, "I had a British director say to me, 'you got to calm down a little, all this woman's stuff you talk about.' No I don't. What does that mean? If someone doesn't want to hire me because they think I'm too vocal, fine. I will do a play, I will always find a job. Let them try to get me out of this industry. I am not going to be silenced!"

(H/T: Deadline)

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