ADG Perspective

January-February 2017

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Page 67 of 139

66 P E R S P E C T I V E | J A N UA RY / F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 7 In the 1950s and '60s, NASA hired women mathematicians to work in its facilities, and called them "human computers." It was not unusual for the head of a department to say, "get me a computer," referring to one of these women. The math work that the women were doing was complex, detail-oriented and grueling, yet you never heard about them. The men got all the credit and the glory, but it was the women who were the backbone of the space program. Hidden Figures is the story of three black women: Katherine Johnson, who was the person who figured out the math that got the astronauts into space and back home again; and her friends, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, both of whom made significant contributions to the space program. The screenplay takes place at the NASA facilities in Langley, Virginia, as well as locations in Hampton, Virginia, and its surrounding communities. It takes place at the height of the civil rights movement, and the black women computers work in separate offices. This was the south, a time of segregation. For a Production Designer, this is a great story to work on—period settings, space capsules and the unexplored world of mathematics. Above: A production photograph of the 1928 classroom set, built in a vacant building in Monroe, GA, for the opening sequence of the fi lm. Opposite page, top to bottom: Three more views of the same set, which set the tone for the characters' background in the deeply segregated South. HIDDEN FIGURES

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