[WATCH] ‘Hidden Figures’ screenwriter Allison Schroeder on using ‘inside information’ to write her script

“It just felt right from the beginning,” reveals “Hidden Figures” screenwriter Allison Schroeder during our recent webcam chat (watch above). “I’d grown up at NASA, and had interned at NASA, and my whole family had a background there,” so this Fox 2000 release starring Taraji P. HensonOctavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae as three African-American mathematicians and engineers who helped launch the first successful space missions while fighting against segregation was right up her ally. Upon first receiving Margot Lee Shetterly‘s book from the producers, she recalls, “I was like, I know this world, I’ve played on the Mercury capsule as a kid, please let me write this. And they said, ‘yes.'”

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She adds, “If I hadn’t had that inside information, trying to come into NASA and create that world would have been very difficult.” But with her wealth of knowledge, from the workings of the original mission control to the complex mathematics necessary to launch a man into space, “there was just a foundation to go upon.” She also, “knew that the culture at NASA was very inclusive, and that there was this common goal that you felt, all the way from the cook in the cafeteria to the person that was working on the payload bay. Everybody felt apart of the mission, and that was one of the central themes of this movie.”

Related: Watch our interview with Theodore Melfi (‘Hidden Figures’)

Schroeder recently reaped BAFTA and WGA nominations for her work alongside co-writer and director Theodore Melfi. The film has had a strong showing as of late, picking up bids at the PGA for Best Picture and at SAG for Best Film Ensemble and Best Supporting Actress (Spencer). With it’s box office success to go along with the accolades, is Schroeder on the way to her first Oscar nom?

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