Steven Spielberg on the power of The Post
BEFORE HE WENT back to the future with Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg went forward to the past with The Post. Although it is set in 1971, the story of the White House trying to suppress The Washington Post publisher Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) and editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) from publishing the Pentagon papers, thus revealing the extent of fatalities in Vietnam, is rife with modern relevance: the suppression of the free media, government cover-ups and the struggles of women in a male-dominated workplace. On a long phone call from his car (“If you can hear whimpering, it’s my dog, not me”), Spielberg talks sexism, the ’70s and zoom lenses, and just how he managed to make his Best Picture-nominated film in just nine months?
What was the imperative to make this so quickly?
I was making Ready Player One at the time. I had locked my cut and ILM was only needing me once a week to review the 1,900 digital shots that they had only just begun. When this script came along, I thought this story could not wait for 2018 or 2019 because it holds up this kind of reflective glass to our current political climate — this story needed to be told today. I needed to tell this story because I needed the relief of a hopeful story like this, where we don’t eviscerate the media and label them ‘Fake News’ but we celebrate the history of this kind of investigative, honest journalism at a critical cross-roads in the Nixon administration. The parallels were undeniably appetising.
How did you do it in nine months?
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