Taraji P. Henson to Play Math Genius Katherine Johnson, Help America Get What’s Ours, Space Race–Wise

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Taraji P. Henson. Photo: Mike Windle/2015 Getty Images

In casting news that will make you excited for a movie based on a book that hasn't come out yet, Taraji P. Henson will play NASA math genius Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures, which tells the story of a group of African-American women who were crucial to America's early efforts at space flight. Based on the book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, the film will follow Johnson and her colleagues Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who helped plan the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and later, in Johnson's case, calculate the trajectory of the Apollo missions. This marks Henson's first major casting news since she won her Golden Globe for Empire, though hopefully she hasn't listened to any of Terrence Howard's math theories on set.