At a time when the relationship between the news media and the government is exceedingly tense, the first trailer for Steven Spielberg’s new historical drama The Post offers a reminder of another time in American history when the White House went to war with the press.
Directed by Spielberg and starring two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks and three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, The Post chronicles the events that unfolded at The Washington Post in the immediate aftermath of the 1971 publication of The Pentagon Papers and the subsequent showdown with the White House and the administration of President Richard M. Nixon over the right to publish the documents.
The film casts Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and Streep as the newspaper’s owner and publisher, Katharine Graham, who was one of the first women to run a major newspaper. The Post follows the occasionally rocky relationship between the two characters as they join The New York Times in exposing the government’s cover-up of events leading up to and during the Vietnam War, as well as the challenge they faced from the White House that threatened to end both their careers, as well as the newspaper itself.
The product of a task force created in 1967 by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the documents that came to be known as The Pentagon Papers are a United States Department of Defense history of the nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The report was leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, a White House aide who worked on the study, and the documents offered evidence that the White House — and specifically, the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson — had lied to the American people and Congress about the scope of the nation’s involvement n the war and the escalation of the conflict. The publication of The Pentagon Papers resulted in the White House attempting to force The New York Times and The Washington Post to cease publication. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, with the fate of the freedom of the press at stake.
The Post also stars Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford, and Zach Woods. The film is the fifth collaboration between Spielberg and Hanks, and the first time Streep has appeared on screen in one of Spielberg’s films. (She voiced a character in the director’s 2001 film A.I.)
The script for The Post was penned by Liz Hannah, with a rewrite penned by Oscar-winning Spotlight screenwriter Josh Singer.
The Post will premiere in limited release December 22, 2017, followed by a wide release January 12, 2018.
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