'Hidden Figures' cast on film's hopeful message and John Glenn's legacy

'Hidden Figures' stars: Movie is the story of hope
'Hidden Figures' stars: Movie is the story of hope

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'Hidden Figures' stars: Movie is the story of hope 02:23

(CNN)"Hidden Figures" may be set during the space race of the early 1960's, but its themes of hope and inclusion are as timely today as they were during the inception of the space program.

The film, which stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, details the true story of how African American women at NASA helped get the first Americans into space.
Henson, who plays genius mathematician Katherine Johnson, told CNN the story of "Hidden Figures" is especially relevant in the currently divisive American climate.
"It's very now," Henson said. "I think it's a reminder that humans are in this together. It doesn't matter your race, color, or who you sleep with at night. This movie is a reminder of what made America great in the first place."
Monáe, who plays engineer Mary Jackson, added that the country wouldn't have been able to achieve something "as extraordinary as sending our first Americans into space" if they allowed race and gender to get in the way.
"I think 'Hidden Figures' is so hopeful," she said. "That when we do come together and realize that we all pee the same color, we all bleed the same color blood, once we continue to remember that and keep that in the forefront, that's when we start changing the world. That's when we're at our greatest."
One of the major events that takes place in the film is the space flight of John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth.
Glenn, who is played by Glen Powell in the film, died earlier this month.
"John Glenn represents the best of who we are as Americans," Spencer, who plays Dorothy Vaughan, NASA's first African-American manager. "This is a love letter to him as well as all the woman who contributed to the space program."
"Hidden Figures" lands in theaters on January 6.