Jessica Chastain Might Star in a TV Series About Female Astronauts Shut Out by NASA in the ’60s

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Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Much like Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman before her, Jessica Chastain is developing a female-centric TV series that could also serve as a starring vehicle for her, according to Deadline. In collaboration with Sully writer Todd Komarnicki, Chastain will executive produce an event series tentatively titled Mercury 13 about the women who went through test training to become astronauts for the Mercury space program. The show would be set in the early 1960s, and tell a kind of complementary story to the one told in Hidden Figures, which focused on the black female mathematicians behind NASA’s Project Mercury. The team of women at the center of Chastain’s project were essentially beta astronauts, dubbed the Mercury 13, who went through the same testing process as their male counterparts in the Mercury 7 mission, but NASA, President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and Congress determined that women should not be allowed in the space program, and so the 13 were grounded. A woman would not actually reach orbit until 1983, and it would be an additional 32 years before Chastain played a fictional astronaut in The Martian — though she did solve the mystery of the fifth dimension by 2014 in Interstellar.

Jessica Chastain Developing Series About Female Astronauts