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‘Gifted’ Producer on Encouraging Women to Pursue STEM Careers

Chris Evans, Jenny Slateand Octavia Spencer were joined by their 10-year-old costar, Mckenna Grace, on the red carpet for the premiere of “Gifted” on Tuesday evening at Pacific Theaters at the Grove in Los Angeles.

The starlet’s adoration for her fellow cast and crew members was unmistakeable, especially Grace’s fondness for director Marc Webb. As soon as she spotted the filmmaker on the carpet, she clung to his side between interviews.

“Working with [Webb] was so fun,” Grace said. “He’s a really understanding director. If you want to try a scene in a different way, you can. He’s always okay with that.”

Grace portrays Mary, a seven-year-old math prodigy who masters calculus before first grade. In addition to Grace, the intellectual forces in the film are primary women; Slate portrays Mary’s math teacher and Jona Xiao plays an MIT math student.

In a society where women and girls are often underrepresented in the fields of mathematics and science, producer Andy Cohen said he hopes “Gifted” fosters the idea that it is simply normal for women to be involved in these industries.

“Normally, if you see movies about math and science it’s with some mad genius, where they’re brilliant, but troubled somehow,” Cohen explained. “We’re trying to represent the fact that normal people can be really good at this — especially little girls and women — and hopefully that message gets out there and it doesn’t become a big moment anymore. It just becomes normal.”

Although “Gifted” helps to represent positive images of women, Evans still had some cautionary advice for youth, like Grace, who are growing up in a transitional social and political climate.

“Be diligent about looking for the truth,” Evans said. “We all have the internet and I think it’s bringing us all together more than it’s tearing us apart, but there’s also a landscape of disingenuous, false news. I think anyone who has an opinion and is passionate about a subject, make sure you’re getting your information from the right places.”

“Gifted” opens in theaters on April 12.

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