Two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain has her eyes set on space. The actress will step into the role of producer for the first time for a TV event series about a group of women in the early 1960s who were denied a chance to be part of the Mercury space program. The project going by the working title MERCURY 13 and is taking a cue from the highly praised, Academy Award-nominated Hidden Figures to tell the untold story of a women’s involvement in the space program.
Chastain, whose on-screen experience with space includes Intersetallar and the “comedy” The Martian, will serve as executive producer under her Freckle Films banner and team with Sully scribe Todd Komarnicki and TV producer Christina Wayne for the project. Komarnicki will also producer under his Guy Walks Into A Bar shingle. The project is set at ITV Studios America and Chastain is considering starring in the series.
Set in 1961, the series follows the true story of leading scientist William Randolph Lovelace II, who helped develop the tests for NASA’s male astronauts. He wanted to see if sending women to space was just as good and considering the time period, this was very “risky.” He sought out 13 of the most daring and determined female pilots in the country, who were willing to risk it all to be part of the space race, and achieve their dream of becoming astronauts. They became known as the Mercury 13. After passing the tests just as good as, if not better than their male counterparts, NASA shut down their tests and they were denied entrance into the space program.
This is one of many projects based on real-life people that Chastain is involved in. She can be seen next in The Zookeeper’s Wife which is based on the true story of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion. She also stars in the forthcoming Molly’s Game about Olympic hopeful turned FBI target Molly Bloom as well as Woman Walks Ahead, a biopic about artist and activist Catherine Weldon.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer