As the old adage goes, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It’s never too late to learn from the errors of the past, especially when the present seems to be ramping up to give them a second go-around, but only if people are willing to hear the lesson. A lot of people might not be interested in history these days, but if time and the film industry have proven anything, one of the fastest ways to get them to listen is to have Steven Spielberg direct it.
The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed the next project for the renowned director: The Post, a true-life drama about the Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. (In short, and it’s something you really should learn about if you’re unaware: the Papers controversially blew open the United States’ involvement in instigating and sustaining the Vietnam War.) For such an important project, you’d expect Spielberg to break out the big guns, and indeed he has: Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep will co-star in the film, somehow marking their first onscreen appearance together.
While the papers were a controversy for decades (they were finally declassified and released publicly in June 2011), The Post will specifically focus on “The Washington Post’s role in publishing the infamous study about the America’s role in the Vietnam War, centering on the work of Post editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) and publisher Kay Graham (Streep).” We live in interesting times when it’s the movies that have to uphold and venerate the heroism of hard-hitting journalism (god knows the sitting President won’t), but it’s hardly surprising that more of these stories would follow after the Best Picture-winning success of Spotlight.
Spielberg will be a busy man between this film, Indiana Jones, and his post-production work on the upcoming adaptation of Ready Player One, but it’s nothing the eternally ambitious filmmaker can’t handle. As of now, it’s unknown when The Post will see theaters, but hopefully it’ll bring its message to the masses sometime before the world turns into Mad Max’s Wasteland.