‘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.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Debra-Messing-Donald-Trump

    Debra Messing Lampoons Donald Trump in Play Based on Mueller Report

    Debra Messing portrayed President Donald Trump in an all-star play based on the Mueller report on Monday at Beverly Hills’ Saban Theatre. Wearing a light pant suit and sitting with legs spread confidently, Messing nailed Trump’s mannerisms in the one-night-only play, “You Can’t Make This Sh*t Up,” which raised funds for a Barbara Boxer-led PAC [...]

  • Kathryn Hahn Mrs. Fletcher

    Kathryn Hahn Talks Working With an Intimacy Coordinator on 'Mrs. Fletcher'

    HBO’s new comedy “Mrs. Fletcher” follows the journey of an empty-nester divorcee who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and sexual exploration following her son’s departure for college. At the series premiere on Monday night at the Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles, Kathryn Hahn discussed playing the titular role of Eve Fletcher, a middle-aged woman [...]

  • Taika Waititi Natalie Portman SDCC 2019

    Natalie Portman Weighs in on 'Thor: Love and Thunder's' Possible Breast Cancer Storyline

    Natalie Portman doesn’t know if “Thor: Love and Thunder” will include a breast cancer storyline for her character Jane Foster, but she’s definitely intrigued by the possibility. “It’s just very rare that these kinds of big entertainment films look at more serious, real-life issues,” she told Variety at L.A. Dance Project’s 8th annual fundraising gala [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Recalls Husband Blake Edwards' Battle With Depression

    The line to see Julie Andrews at the 92nd Street Y wrapped around the square of a sprawling New York City block. Seventy years since the start of her career, 60 since she asked “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” as Lerner and Loewe’s first Eliza and 50 since she sang “The Sound of Music” before the [...]

  • Bombshell Charlize Theron Megyn Kelly

    'Bombshell': Why Charlize Theron Was Terrified of Playing Megyn Kelly

    Charlize Theron is getting some of the best buzz of her career for channeling Megyn Kelly in “Bombshell,” but the Oscar-winning actress admits she almost turned down the role. “I was shit scared,” Theron said during a question-and-answer session following a Manhattan screening of “Bombshell” on Sunday. Partly, she was worried about portraying someone who [...]

  • Natalie Portman Benjamin Millipied LA Dance

    Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied Help Raise Over $1 Million For L.A. Dance Project

    Natalie Portman may be joining Chris Hemsworth in Marvel’s “Thor 4: Love and Thunder,” but as the petite, Dior-clad actress struck a range of poses on the carpet inside downtown Los Angeles gallery space Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel on Saturday night, it was impossible to imagine her wielding an enormous hammer. But then, the Oscar [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content