Taraji P. Henson Failed Math in College, But Now Plays a Mathematician in 'Hidden Figures'
In a revealing interview with W Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg, actress Taraji P. Henson opens up about playing mathematician Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures and more.
Released on 1/5/2017
|Starring:||Taraji P. Henson|
I read the script, and I just remembered thinking,
how come I've never heard this story before?
And I started asking, have you ever heard of these women?
Have you ever heard of Katherine Johnson?
Did you know women had anything to do
with the great race to space?
And the answer kept coming up no, and I was like, angry.
Because this is a very important piece of history
that we should know.
I did not know that that was a dream that I could have.
Yeah, I could act like I know math,
but I'm not mathematically wired.
I failed math in college.
I don't know why I chose electrical engineering,
it just sounded like I would make a lot of money.
I didn't even consider the math part.
Now I gotta go to pre-calc, and oh, you know.
It looks Chinese.
I have two tutors, I think.
I still failed.
God has an incredible sense of humor,
because now, I have to play this mathematician.
They actually had a mathematician on set,
and he's trying to teach it to me.
I said, no, no, no, no, no.
Don't try and teach it, we'll be here for ten years.
I'm just, I'm not gonna get it.
Show me what I have to write,
I'll memorize it, and watch what I do with it.
There you go, math, take that!
I became an actress.
You know, Cookie,
I don't know if you guys know this character.
She's this character on this show called Empire,
I don't know.
You may have seen, or you may not have.
She says it like it is, no holds barred.
Katherine, very different woman, from a very different time,
where women had no rights, basically.
It was exhausting in another way,
because I am a lot in life.
Taraji is very, you know, I'm rambunctious.
I have a lot of energy, I'm very animated when I speak.
Katherine is not.
Women were very different in the 60s.
Particularly black women.
And, you know, the clothes were different.
You couldn't move like that in a girdle!
I remember my first boyfriend in high school,
it was my first puppy love, and I was so into him.
And when he kissed me, things started happening.
Things woke up, and I was like, hey, what is that?
Because I was a virgin, and I mean, I was like...
What is this feeling?
And I went on to date him, and we never did anything.
Yeah, I wasn't ready, and he didn't wanna break my heart
by cheating on me, so he broke up with me.
I would have to say Teyana Taylor right now.
Just, did you not see it?
I'm in the gym every day like...
Hold up, hold up, like, come on.
I just love everything Teyana Taylor.
I think her baby's beautiful, her body's beautiful,
she can do no wrong in my book.
I am afraid of being trapped in a small car,
like a Datsun two door, in the backseat.
It's been a long, long life fear of mine.
I don't know where it came from, but there you have it.
Why is that?
And I'm in the backseat, so I will freak out.
Don't pull up to my house in a car with just two doors,
and expect me to get in the backseat.
It's not gonna happen.