HUFFINGTON POST – Taraji P. Henson plays a human computer and NASA whiz in the upcoming 20th Century Fox film “Hidden Figures.”
Based on the upcoming book by Margot Lee Shetterly of the same name, the film focuses on the untold true story of NASA scientists and mathematicians Katherine Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe, in her debut role) who helped launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
“Hidden Figures” will depict the lives of some of the black women ? and black scientists, period ? who were so integral in NASA’s early 1960s success, but whose stories were silenced for so long.
They may be fresh on the scene, but the latest batch of Hollywood up-and-comers has a retro edge clearly on display in this time-traveling style portfolio.
VANITY FAIR – This crop of young talents has a sense of history—with such heroes as James Dean, Julie Christie, and Audrey Hepburn—not to mention a penchant for books and vinyl. While echoing the styles of decades past, from Rat Pack cool to madcap flair, they divulge their guilty pleasures, karaoke picks, emoji habits, and much more, for a group portrait of Generation Now.
THE WRAP – “You’re just like, ‘All right, take me, Jesus. This is my time’”
While “Underground” has been criticized by some — including Snoop Dogg — for its depiction of slavery in America, series star Aldis Hodge says that the WGN America show is about much more than that.
“It’s an amazing show that is really about the foundation of America; the foundation of American superheroes, the foundation of what it takes to persevere and really find your strength and your potential,” Hodge told TheWrap.
GOLD DERBY – “When it came to representing this particular culture and this particular timeframe for American history, I wanted to show all that we haven’t seen,” says “Underground” star Aldis Hodge as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his hit WGN America series. The actor plays Noah, the leader of a group of runaway slaves who try to escape via the Underground Railroad. “I saw how smart this character was. He’s just so cunning and beguiling when it comes to how he needs to play all of these people around him like chess pieces.”
When we first meet Noah, he’s been brought back to the plantation after an unsuccessful escape attempt. “That’s why he said, ‘I need to go recruit some people,” explains Hodge, “because they have all these different skills that I need.’” This team includes the cunning and crafty Cado (Alano Miller), the shy yet courageous Rosalie (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and the fiery preacher Moses (Mykelti Williamson).
“At first, they depend on him,” he explains, “but I think along the way, at least for me personally, I feel like he depended on them. Just growing as a man, he grew in mercy, he grew in understanding, he grew in compassion for dealing with all of these people and having them obligated to him and his path. I loved the complexity in him trying to figure out what choice to make, and trying to decide whether or not it is the right choice, because there’s no easy choice.”
EBONY – Najja Parker talks to Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Aldis Hodge about this oddly empowering trek back in history
Get ready to dive deep into your emotions. Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodge take us on a journey through their roles on WGN America’s new show, “The Underground.” This show depicts the struggle and heroic uprising of slaves while trying to obtain freedom from a system of bondage. Hodge plays the role of Noah, a strategic, determined blacksmith who plans to break free from his Southern slave masters and relocate to the North. Along the way he meets Rosalee, a house slave played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who has the same determination for freedom and a better life.
Tune in to this interview with our own Najja Parker at the Johnson Publishing Chicago Office as each of them explain their roles more in depth, and the knowledge they gained during the process of filming. “The Underground” premieres tonight on WGN America, check your local listings for show times.
ZAP2IT – WGN America’s hit series “Underground” aired its third episode on Wednesday (March 23) and if it’s one thing fans have noticed thus-far, it’s that Noah and Rosalee have a thing for longing glances. These moments have been encapsulated into one singular phrase: “The Gaze.”
“A lot of this show is not in dialogue,” says Jurnee Smollett-Bell. “The plot’s pushed forward through gazes.”
It’s quite obvious that there is a budding romance between Noah and Rosalee, from the first moment they met where she tended to his wounds, to the dance they shared in Episode 2, “War Chest.”
With so many threats around every corner, it’s safe to say a budding love between a slave stationed inside the plantation and one that is planning an escape would need to be kept on the down low. Still, the connection between the two characters jumps off the screen. Who knew the power of a gaze could be so strong?
“We dip into the romance a little bit,” says Aldis Hodge. “We get romantical, you know?”
With the amount of gazes the actors tackle, Smollett-Bell and Hodge has given names to the different styles of eye-acting. There’s “The Longing Gaze” and “The I Miss You Gaze” but by the looks of thing, the “Don’t You Want To Dance With Me Gaze” seems like the most fun.
“Underground” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.