Steven Spielberg & the Cast of The Post Attend World Premiere in Washington
Last night, director Steven Spielberg and the cast of The Post premiered the film in Washington, DC. Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys, Sarah Paulson and more walked the red carpet for the event. The movie that chronicles the brave decision by The Washington Post to print the Pentagon papers was screened before an audience of Senators and members of Congress.
The premiere took place just a mile from the former headquarters of The Washington Post, where the film took place. Today, The Post is one of the most esteemed and influential news sources in the country, but publisher Katharine Graham was fighting for financial solvency as the Pentagon Papers story broke. Publishing put the paper’s future in jeopardy, but principles of freedom of the press and government accountability prevailed.
In a climate in which the press and White House administration are in daily battles, Spielberg told the audience he rushed to have the movie made.
“All my life I have had an urgency to entertain, but sometimes you come across a story that contained its own special urgency,” he said. “When Amy Pascal gave me Liz Hannah’s script to The Post nine months ago, and then Josh Singer came on board to work with us, we all felt this was a story that had to be made right now because it resonated right now.”
Cast and filmmakers of The Post. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Dave Allocca, StarPix©2016
In 1971, US military analyst Daniel Ellsberg smuggled a several thousand page report out of the Pentagon over several months. The classified documents detailed the truth of the Vietnam War that had been covered up by multiple administrations. Ellsberg, now considered a national hero, was in attendance at the premiere.
Once The Washington Post had obtained a copy of the papers, Katharine Graham had to determine whether they would run the exposé, risking bankruptcy and prison time. The audience cheered each time Graham, played by Meryl Streep, strengthened in her resolve and found her voice. Tom Hanks played the persistent editor, Ben Bradlee, who pushed the story to print. The film depicts the rivalry The Post had with the most powerful paper in the world at the time, The New York Times.
“The Post is the kind of origin story of the historically significant relationship between two people who can fairly be described as superheroes; Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee,” Spielberg said. “It means more than I can describe to bring this film to the hometown of these two giants in American journalism. Mrs. Graham’s paper continues to serve our country with honor thanks to its current owner and champion Jeff Bezos, who I am thrilled is here tonight. Every week the men and women of The Washington Post do you proud. We’re happy to have your incredible editor in chief Marty Baron here.”
Steven Spielberg and cast of The Post. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Dave Allocca, StarPix©2016
Spielberg recognized the bravery and competitive spirit that drove the famous Pentagon Papers story. “The Post is mainly about The Post, but in truth it has two institutional protagonists: The Washington Post and the New York Times. This is a story about competition and cooperation. Everyone in your business wants the scoop, but in our story as well as today, newspapers are working together to achieve their most important aim.”
In an era in which the integrity of the press is questioned by government, the Pentagon Papers stands as a reminder of why the First Amendment is fundamental to our democracy.
The Post opens nationwide December 22.
Featured Image: The Post. Photo Credit: Niko Tavernise – © 2017 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION AND STORYTELLER DISTRIBUTION CO. LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.