Meet the women who made Pentagon Papers drama “The Post” possible

The critically-acclaimed new movie “The Post” dramatizes The Washington Post’s historic decision to publish top-secret government documents detailing America’s decades-long involvement in the Vietnam War. At the center of the Steven Spielberg-directed film is Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, who grapples with whether to publish the Pentagon Papers and finding her footing in an industry largely dominated by men.

If it weren’t for two other inspiring women – a 32-year-old first-time screenwriter and a former studio head whose career was nearly derailed by hackers – it’s possible the movie never would have been made.

CBS News

CBS News’ Alex Wagner spoke to them about the power of Graham’s story, the movie, and why the movie had to be made now. 

“I thought that I was gonna write this movie and maybe it would get me an agent. That was my expectation is that maybe I would get an agent,” Liz Hannah said.

Hannah – inspired by the memoir of former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham – wrote the screenplay in the summer of 2016 but she never expected “The Post” to be made. Then her manager leaked it to a handful of producers, including Amy Pascal.
“I read the script. Someone in my office got it, gave it to me, said, ‘I think you’re gonna really like this.’ I sat down and I read it and I bought it,” Pascal said. “And I loved it because it beautifully encapsulated a story of a woman finding her voice. And our country finding its voice at the same.”
Graham, played by Meryl Streep, faced enormous pressure from an all-male board of directors to take The Washington Post public – just as The New York Times published a blockbuster story on the Pentagon Papers.
When a federal court ordered the Times to stop publishing additional stories, it fell on Graham to decide whether to allow The Washington Post, and its editor Ben Bradlee, to go forward with the story. Graham would risk prison time and losing the family newspaper she inherited after her husband’s suicide.
“She had to take a very, very big risk. And she could have been wrong,” Pascal said.

“There’s something that was really special about this decision for her because it was personal. It wasn’t just about losing her company,” Hannah said. “This was about telling the people that she trusted most in the world … that they were wrong.”
“What do you think it is that allowed this woman to…

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