I felt this huge responsibility to these women, to get it right and to make something that they would be proud of. Katherine Johnson, who’s the only one still with us, her request was that it not be just about her – that we had some of these other women as well, because it was a team effort. That was something I took to heart, and it’s why you’ve got Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn as well, and we get to see all the other women they worked with in the computing pool.
Did a great interview with Allison Schroeder around the time of Oscar season; this was a real blast, Allison was great to talk to. We spoke a lot about representation, and the sort of films that Allison wanted her daughter to be able to see while growing up.
Which, in hindsight, I did wonder about. Allison was the first woman I interviewed individually; since then I’ve tried, albeit not necessarily succeeded, to maintain a rough sort of parity between male and female interviewees – as well as interviewing people of colour, though that’s been less successful. Was asking about the sort of films her daughter would watch something I’d ask a male director or screenwriter? I think yes, and it made sense in context – Hidden Figures had been especially impactful with young girls, and Allison had only recently-ish given birth. But it’s something I try to bear in mind, anyway.
That said, the other thought I have after this interview is that I probably should have pushed a little more on the matter of historical accuracy and such; this was the fourth interview I did, and I was a little less confident about things like that, but I definitely think that nowadays I’d be more direct rather than talking around the issue as above.