Spielberg, Streep, and Hanks to Team for Pentagon Papers Drama

In retrospect, it was sort of nutty it had taken Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg so long to work together: Spielberg had been making films for over twenty years before he found his current go-to leading man, and Hanks had already been starring in movies for nearly a decade-and-a-half, with two Oscars under his belt. Now, they’ve become quite a snug fit, with their collaborations epitomizing a classical professionalism that seems effortless. Since they first worked together on 1998’s Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg has directed Hanks in Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, and Bridge of Spies (they also shared producer credits on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific); now, they’re teaming again, and adding another legend to the mix.

Meryl Streep has somehow never acted with Hanks (though he was a producer on her Mama Mia and The Ant Bully), and her only work for Spielberg came in the form of a voice-only performance in A.I. According to Variety, the twenty-time Oscar nominee will co-star with Hanks in Spielberg’s The Post, a fact-based drama about the Washington Post’s publication of the controversial Pentagon Papers back in 1971. It’s a story that’s been told on film before – most notably in the excellent 2010 documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America, focusing on Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who provided the government documents to newspapers – but with the current fixation on leaks and the White House, the story is suddenly super-timely again.

What’s not quite clear is why the film is focused on the Washington Post rather than the New York Times, which led the way on reporting the story and was the first to face a federal court injunction by the Nixon administration. But look at it this way: with Hanks playing Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee and Streep as publisher Katharine Graham, The Post will mark the long-awaited continuation of the All The President’s Men Cinematic Universe.