By Amy Kaufman
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When Allison Schroeder heard that Hollywood producers were looking for a screenwriter to write a film called “Hidden Figures” about three little-known female African American NASA mathematicians, she knew she had to write it. The following article clearly illustrates why Schroeder believed she was the perfect fit to write the script.
Los Angeles Times
Allison Schroeder was on the playground in 1986, chasing a friend around the slide, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.
As a first-grader, she was confused by the blast visible from her neighborhood, just 30 minutes south of the launch pad in Cape Canaveral. So she looked toward her teacher, who’d begun to cry. That’s when she realized something terrible had occurred.
After school, before the shuttle’s cabin had been recovered, she gathered a group of her friends and organized a search party.
On bicycles, they rode around their neighborhood looking for the astronauts in vacant lots.
“I was so sure I could save them,” Schroeder, now 38, recalls.
This is only one of the many ways NASA has touched Schroeder’s life. Her grandparents worked there. She interned there in high school, learning binary coding and how to build a circuit board. After her freshman year at Stanford, where she majored in economics, she spent a summer working at a missile launch company. And now, NASA is at the heart of the movie that has earned her an Oscar nomination.
When she heard that Hollywood producers were looking for a screenwriter to write a film called “Hidden Figures” about three little-known female African American NASA mathematicians, she knew she had to write it.
“We got on the phone and she said, ‘I have a feeling for this story in a big, big way,'” said Donna Gigliotti, the producer who would go on to hire Schroeder to adapt “Hidden Figures” from a book proposal into a script. “And I’ve been around the block a few times. I genuinely rolled my eyes and was like, ‘OK. You tell me why.’ And when she told me why, it was kind of undeniable.”