This was my second time interviewing director Ted Melfi. The first was a couple of years ago for St. Vincent. a Bill Murray comedy that had him as a misanthrope who befriends a neighbor kid. It wasn't a particular favorite, but the conversation with Melfi was fantastic. The guy has stories for days, and has an laid-back attitude about this whole Hollywood deal that is refreshing.
So I was particularly interested to speak with him about Hidden Figures because despite its crowd pleasing nature, it's actually quite a serious movie that comes with heaps of responsibility. For Melfi is telling a story few know; that of African-American mathematicians Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) who were key to NASA sending John Glenn into orbit. Melfi talks about his decision to choose this as his next movie and its place in our racially-charged society. He can barely stop himself from gushing over Henson's acclaimed performance, and even finds time to get a little political towards the end of the interview.
You can listen to my interview with Ted Melfi below (Please excuse the audio problems during my intro and closing), and check out my review of Hidden Figures here.