This week we’ve been privileged to sit down with the cast and composer of Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures. The film has won the hearts of audiences across the world, telling an important story obscured for so long. Its inspirational message of collaboration and meritocratic success will be its greatest legacy, but for now its timely nature will help it gather an even wider audience when the film releases in the UK on the 17th of February.
James Kleinmann completed his set of interviews with director Melfi, whose keen eye keeps the social message implicit in the film interwoven perfectly with its compelling narrative. Melfi talked through his feelings on his main cast Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae,
“I was blown away by Taraji P. Henson, if you’ve seen [her] work lately on Empire playing Cookie – who is this bombastic character – and then you see how contained she is as Katherine Johnson. Quiet, and sensitive and smart. I’m blown away that the same actor can do those two different things.
“Janelle Monae is a firecracker. You never know what she’s going to do, or what she’s going to say. She lives her life as an activist, she stands for things, she’s a fighter.
An early scene in the film has a highway altercation with a police officer which doesn’t end in perhaps the expected fashion. It is in these moments that the humanity and humour help elevate the film. Melfi told us how important this was to him, and this story,
“Every movie should have humour! In Hidden Figures you have racism, sexism, you have the Jim Crow laws, you have segregation and people treating people poorly because of the colour of their skin, or their sex. Without humour I don’t think you could swallow that pill, and feel good about yourself.”
“I hope audiences take away a sense of hope. We did something great back in 1962 with help from all people. Black people, White people, men, women regardless of sex, age, colour – the United States of the World achieved something great by doing it together. And we can do it again.”
Hidden Figures is out in UK cinemas on the 17th of February, you can read our review right here.
Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures Interview