Streep, Hanks, Spielberg discuss new journalism film, ‘The Post’

Justin Jones

Three of Hollywood’s most powerful individuals are collaborating on one superfilm. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star in Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” a movie about The Washington Post during the public leaks of the Pentagon Papers in the early ‘70s.

The extremely relevant film drives home the need for a free press — something we tend to agree with — and delivers Oscar-worthy performances from Streep and Hanks, two of Hollywood’s best. Along with other student newspapers across the U.S., The Daily Texan spoke with the three filmmakers via Skype, learning more details behind the making and power of “The Post.”

The Daily Texan: How important was it to y’all to include such an inspiring, powerful female role, especially in today’s society, that a powerful woman would help to shed light on
powerful men?

Meryl Streep: Well, I would like the fellas to talk about this.

Steven Spielberg: Well, I think that the script was written by a 31-year-old woman named Liz Hannah, who had never sold a script before. She wrote this on spec. Sold it to Amy Pascal, who sold it to 20th Century Fox, who gave me the script and then we invited Tom and Meryl into the partnership.

MS: Stacey Snider, who’s also…

SS: And Stacey Snider who’s also the head of Fox, was the one who got me the script with Amy Pascal. And the important thing about all of this was, this is a very women set up. I got two women producers on this, I got Kristie Macosko Krieger, I got Amy Pascal.

You know, this is a very women-centric story, this is my second movie about feminism. My first being “The Color Purple,” and that was 1985. That’s a long time between feminist statements, but I was raised by a powerful, strong mom and a great dad. I had great women in my life, three of whom ran my film company for 30 years, and Laurie MacDonald and Kathleen Kennedy and then Stacey Snider. And I am much more comfortable in the company of women and I always have been, so this was for me a no-brainer to jump headfirst into the story.

Later in the interview, The Daily Californian writer Arjun Sarup asked Hanks and Streep about the process of working together.

The Daily Californian: Mr. Hanks, you said that with Mrs. Streep that you’re working with somebody who is not trying to railroad you into a specific moment, she’s trying to find the moment along with you. Could you guys elaborate on that and what is was like working together?

Tom Hanks: Well I think making a movie a lot of times is a hot house atmosphere, where you have a limited amount of time in order to put across your ideas and your agenda for your performance. I think we have both worked on a couple projects and I know I have on occasion myself not really been paying too much attention to what the other person was saying to me in a scene because I was so busy trying to gage out how I was going to deliver what I thought were my beats, that were specific to my character.

At the end of the interview, Steven Spielberg had a message for journalism majors at UT and beyond.

“You journalists, stick with journalism,” Spielberg said. “We need you!”