Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Steven Spielberg Got Everything We Wanted To Find Out: Tom Hanks

Steven Spielberg Got Everything We Wanted To Find Out: Tom Hanks

"The Post" is on safe ground when it focuses on Streep as Graham - tentative, slightly affected, but growing by the day - and with Graham's relationship with her gruff, hotshot editor, Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks, against type but winningly. On the one hand, there's the procedural story of reporters uncovering a far-reaching scandal, which is right in the wheelhouse of co-screenwriter and Spotlight Oscar-winner Josh Singer.

"The Post" is also inspiring to all Americans who value the truth and the free press. But maybe that's exactly why we need films like The Post. "I said, 'No, no, stay there.' I said I'll sit on your lap". She has to answer to a board of directors (which includes Tracy Letts as Fritz Beebe and Bradley Whitford as Arthur Parsons) who don't want anything to rock the boat of their sale, which the printing of government secrets most certainly will do. "One of the fortunate things about working with Charlize and Beth is that they felt so strongly about female voices".

And so it was at Delilah, a few years into the job, that Hannah "had this insane idea" to write a screenplay. "That was five years ago". So, to have that fall to a woman, who was really alone in her position, that's what interested me. Known as the Pentagon Papers, a portion of this trove of documents has already been published by the New York Times, but that paper has been stopped by a court order. It's finances were precarious and owner Katharine Graham was undermined by the attitudes of the time towards any woman in a traditionally male role. The actress quickly disappeared and Graham took her place.

Instead, it connected Hannah with another Hollywood power-player: former Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal.

"I would've wanted to make this movie no matter who wrote it", Pascal told USA TODAY in an email.

As always, Spielberg is a great storyteller who is never better than when doing biographical material like Schindler's List, Bridge of Spies, Lincoln, Munich, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Amistad - or movies based on real-life events like Saving Private Ryan and War Horse. With Spielberg, Streep, and Hanks taking their licks at the man in the Oval Office, it's a fair bet that few will care that "The Post" comes up short.

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"It was a very, very insane serendipitous moment", said Hannah.

The other thing that weakens this as a piece of history is the way Spielberg steadily tries to connect and show similarities between Richard Nixon, and our current president, Donald Trump.

The move paid off. The decision becomes all the more hard for Graham because she heads a failing newspaper (at that time) and is trying to expand the newsroom by preparing to take the paper public.

A veteran reporter from the Washington Post accesses all the documents from the pentagon papers and carries back 4000 pages to his editor.

"In the wake of Wonder Woman (making) everyone stop and look around (and) in parallel with #MeToo and Time's Up, there's a thirst for women's stories", she says. As you might expect, The Post has a lot in common with Spotlight - both are essentially workplace dramas, featuring guys who roll up their sleeves and lean on desks pensively while the objectively more narratively rich thing (which in this case is nearly certainly Ellsberg's theft of the documents, which is showcased in a swift but efficient sequence) happens elsewhere. She starts out hesitant to challenge the condescension often shown by men who are supposed to advise her but increasingly finds steel to do so, in one scene reminding Robert McNamara that she is seeking his advice, not his permission.

"I think that change is happening".

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