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Trivia for The Post

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  • This is Liz Hannah's first produced screenplay which was picked up as a spec script on the Black List website by producer Amy Pascal.
  • This is the fifth feature film collaboration of actor Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg. The earlier films were [in chronological order]: Saving Private Ryan (1998), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Terminal (2004), and Bridge of Spies (2015).
  • This is the first major film collaboration of actress Meryl Streep and director Steven Spielberg. Streep's only other collaboration with Spielberg was on A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) when Streep did a voice over role in the film.
  • This is the first onscreen acting film collaboration and star teaming of actor Tom Hanks and actress Meryl Streep. The pair have both previously been credited for two pictures the two have both worked on but not in a top billing acting context. Streep did voice work for The Ant Bully (2006) and starred in Mamma Mia! (2008) which Hanks respectively was a producer and executive producer on.
  • The original title for the screenplay was 'The Post', but it was retitled 'The Papers' once the project was put into preproduction. The title was changed back again in the postproduction stage.
  • Bob Odenkirk and Jesse Plemons both previously starred in Breaking Bad (2008), while Carrie Coon and Michael Stuhlbarg previously starred in the third season of Fargo (2014), which also featured Odenkirk and Plemons in previous seasons. David Costabile (Art Buchwald in The Post) also starred in Breaking Bad where he played Gale Boetticher,
  • This is the third film collaboration between actors Tom Hanks and Bradley Whitford. Their two prior films together were: Philadelphia (1993) & Saving Mr. Banks (2013).
  • This film features four actors who previously appeared in the FX anthology series Fargo (2014) Bob Odenkirk appeared in Season 1, Jesse Plemons appeared in Season 2, and Carrie Coon and Michael Stuhlbarg appear in Season 3.
  • Sarah Paulson and Bruce Greenwood also starred in American Crime Story (2016) (The People vs. O.J. Simpson).
  • This is the second film coming out in 2017 about a historical high-profile whistleblower case. Spielberg's The Post (2017) is based on Daniel Ellsberg and the release of the secret 'Pentagon Papers', while Landesman's Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) is based on Mark Felt and the Watergate scandal. Both films feature by coincidence Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood.
  • Was filmed after director Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One (2018), but released before.
  • The Post is co-screenwriter Josh Singer's third film exploring the importance of journalism in uncovering political scandal following The Fifth Estate (2013) about Julian Assange's Wikileaks organization and Spotlight (2015), which follows the Boston Globe's investigation into Catholic child sex abuse allegations.
  • Meryl Streep and Tracy Letts previously collaborated together in the film August: Osage County (2013), which was written by Tracy Letts.
  • With this film, his fifth collaboration with Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks broke his tie with Harrison Ford to be the actor that Spielberg has directed the most times. Ford has also been directed by Spielberg five times, but his scene in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) was cut from the final film.
  • David Cross and Bob Odenkirk have worked together on various projects before, most famously the sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995).
  • The film was shot under the working title, "Nor'Easter."
  • This is Steven Spielberg's first film since War of the Worlds (2005) to be filmed in 1.85:1 and his first film to use said ratio through the Super 35 format.
  • Co-screenwriter Josh Singer and actor Bradley Whitford both worked on The West Wing (1999).
  • This is Steven Spielberg's first film since War of the Worlds (2005) to be shot in the taller 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
  • Ben Bradlee was previously played in All the President's Men (1976) by Jason Robards, who played Tom Hanks's boss in Philadelphia (1993).
  • Meryl Streep has previously co-starred with several actors from All the President's Men (1976). She co-starred with Dustin Hoffman (Carl Bernstein) and Jane Alexander (who played the bookkeeper, Judy Hoback) in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and with Robert Redford (Bob Woodward) in Out of Africa (1985). Streep also appeared with Jason Robards (Benjamin C. Bradlee) and Hal Holbrook (who played Mark Felt, a.k.a. "Deep Throat") in her first film, Julia (1977), although she didn't have any scenes with either actor. Additionally, Streep appeared in Silkwood (1983) with Henderson Forsythe, who played Ben Bradlee in Chances Are (1989).
  • Tom Hanks has a connection with both of the film's main characters' real-life individuals. Hanks knew Ben Bradlee (portrayed by Hanks), and he met Kay Graham (portrayed by Meryl Streep) the day before she died.
  • This is the first major film collaboration of actress Meryl Streep and director Steven Spielberg. Streep previously performed the voice of "The Blue Fairy" in Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). Spielberg later wanted her to play Dr. Hineman in Minority Report (2002), but she had to back out and was replaced by Lois Smith.
  • Artist Blake Emory appears as a protester.
  • Bruce Greenwood previously appeared in Truth (2015) with Robert Redford, who plays Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in All the President's Men (1976).
  • Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks have both worked with Nora Ephron, who was the former wife of Post reporter Carl Bernstein.
  • Tom Hanks previously appeared in Charlie Wilson's War with John Slattery. Slattery played Ben Bradlee's son in Spotlight.
  • Meryl Streep and Philip Casnoff dated in the 1970s when she was at Yale University and he was at Wesleyan University.
  • The Post is dedicated to Nora Ephron, once married to Carl Bernstein who with Bob Woodward uncovered the Watergate scandal in 1972 as reporters for The Washington Post. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks have both worked with Ephron.
  • It marks as the very first time Spielberg's regular editor Michael Kahn edits his film along with another editor, in this case Sarah Broshar, who has credits as associated editor in the previous Spielberg films. This is also the second Spielberg film to be edited by two people; the first film was Spielberg's theatrical debut, The Sugarland Express (1974), which was edited by Edward M. Abroms and Verna Fields.
  • In scenes involving the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg's original documents were used as props, including the pages that were scattered over the floor of Benjamin C. Bradlee (Tom Hanks') home.
  • Part of the film shot at Columbia University
  • Never having previously collaborated with director Steven Spielberg in a director/actor capacity, Meryl Streep was flabbergasted to learn that Spielberg never rehearses with his actors. Co-star Tom Hanks was well aware of this idiosyncrasy but decided, in gleeful anticipation of a 'diva' reaction, not to tell Streep. Despite her initial shock, Meryl and Steven got along extremely well during the shoot with Spielberg being so impressed with her character transformation, he had difficulty restraining himself from constantly complimenting her every take on set.
  • Coincidentally, Benjamin C. Bradlee and wife Sally Quinn were Long Island neighbors of Steven Spielberg for many years, and they knew each other socially.
  • Michael Cyril Creighton appeared in another newspaper drama, Spotlight (2015), which was written by the co-screenwriter of this film, Josh Singer.
  • Bruce Greenwood portrayed John F. Kennedy in the film Thirteen Days (2000). In this film, he portrays Kennedy's defense secretary Robert McNamara.
  • In The Money Pit (1986), Tom Hanks plays entertainment attorney Walter Fielding, one of whose clients is a band called 'Cheap Girls'. Their leader, played by Leslie West tells Walter that they want to change the band's name to 'Meryl Streep'.
  • This is the second time Bradley Whitford, Jesse Plemons, and Zach Woods are in a film together. They all stared together in Other People (2016).
  • In The Money Pit (1986) one of Walter's (Tom Hanks) friends wants to change the name of his band to "Meryl Streep."
  • Spielberg screened his film for Katharine Graham's children, Lally Weymouth and Donald Graham, and Bradlee's widow Sally Quinn who, to his great relief, all approved.
  • Meryl Streep starred in the 2013 motion picture adaptation of Tracy Letts' play August: Osage County. They star together in this film.
  • It is raining in nearly all of the brief scenes of the Vietnam War. In Forrest Gump (1994), the title character played by Tom Hanks, who also stars in this film, serves in the war and mentions on two occasions how much it rained there.
  • The last scene of The Post is the opening credits scene in All the President's Men.
  • In the scene showing Vietnam War protesters, the words spoken by one of them are taken from Mario Savio's "Put your bodies upon the gears" speech during the 1964 Free Speech Movement at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Early in the film, the White House bans Washington Post reporter Judith Martin from covering Tricia Nixon's wedding because Richard Nixon was incensed that Martin had crashed his other daughter, Julie's, wedding earlier. It's not mentioned, but Martin became the nationally syndicated etiquette columnist "Miss Manners," who now often advises against crashing parties.
  • When Daniel Ellsberg and his associates sneak into an office to use a photocopy machine (to reproduce the Pentagon Papers), a movie poster for the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) is visible on the wall. That movie shared a star (Robert Redford) and a screenwriter (William Goldman) with the most famous filmed adaptation of the Nixon-era corruption scandals, All the President's Men (1976) (to which The Post makes many cinematic references).
  • Although this goes unexplained in the movie, when Daniel Ellsberg and Tony Russo needed to photocopy the pilfered papers, the place they found to do it was an advertising agency founded by Russo's then-girlfriend, Lynda Harris Sinay. For allowing the photocopying to happen at her business, Sinay was pursued by prosecutors, but was designated an unindicted co-conspirator and was never actually prosecuted. Sinay, who subsequently married businessman Stewart Resnick, later became well-known as an entrepreneur and businesswoman; the Resnicks own such businesses as the floral delivery service Teleflora, Fiji Water, and POM Wonderful.
  • The film was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2017, and was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by Time and the American Film Institute.
  • The Post marks the 28th collaboration between composer John Williams and Steven Spielberg. The score uses a combination of both orchestral and sparse, light electronic elements throughout.
  • In all of the scenes depicting President Nixon on the phone in the Oval Office, Nixon's actual voice is heard from White House tapes.
  • Katharine Graham, The Washington Post publisher whom Meryl Streep portrays, was sometimes called "The Iron Lady" by her colleagues. Meryl Streep played a different Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, in the 2011 movie The Iron Lady (2011).
  • In the scenes taking place on airplanes (both military and commercial), the interior shows enclosed overhead bins. Such bins were not in use until the late 1970's.
  • In his memoir, the real Daniel Ellsberg claimed that walking out of RAND with the Pentagon Papers (and returning them) over the course of months was a calculated risk, since he had never had his bag checked by security, but he did not know for sure if it was not policy to do so.
  • The Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1972 was awarded only to The New York Times for its publication of the Pentagon Papers.
  • Actors Tracy Letts and Carrie Coon are a married couple in real life. Though they have collaborated on stage before, this is the first feature film in which both of them appear.
  • Earlier in the film, Daniel Ellsberg passes a movie poster for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That movie's screenplay was written by William Goldman, who won an Academy Award for the screenplay of All the President's Men, another film about the Washington Post in which Benjamin Bradlee is a major character.
  • This is the third movie where Steven Spielberg portrays a case before the Supreme Court, after Amistad (1997) and Bridge of Spies (2015) .
  • Steven Spielberg wanted to have his film released as quickly as possible given the parallels between its theme and the burgeoning political 'fake news' climate in the U.S. According to Meryl Streep, filming started in May (2017) and finished at the end of July (2017) and Spielberg had it cut two weeks later, an unprecedented feat. The gestation from script to final cut lasted a modest 9 months.
  • Spielberg found the irony of time frame flipped numbers 19(71)-20(17) to be somewhat symbolic of a pendulum that had swung all the way back from Richard Nixon to Donald J. Trump.
  • Steven Spielberg considers this to be his first political thriller. He classifies his earlier Bridge of Spies (2015) as an espionage thriller.
  • Michael Stuhlbarg is in three of the movies nominated for best picture Oscars: The Shape of Water (2017), Call Me by Your Name (2017) and The Post, but he was not nominated himself.
  • Reunites David Cross and Bob Oedenkirk from the sketch comedy show Mr. Show in their first non-comedic performance together.
  • Benjamin Bradlee had a son named Ben Bradlee Junior who is depicted in Spotlight (2015) (played by John Slattery), a film based on the true story about the Boston Globe newspaper uncovering a major scandal.
  • The "History and Mission" section of the RAND Corporation's own website explains that the company's name is derived from contracting the words in the term "Research ANd Development."
  • The Linotype operators are using a very distinct fingering with their index, middle, third finger, and thumb of both hands, different than a regular typewriter. The Post and other newspapers generally went to 'off-set' printing during the '70s.
  • When McNamara's plane lands in Washington towards the beginning of the movie, and he meets reporters to answer questions, there is a sign on the wall behind one of the reporters that says 'United States Air Force - Fort Andrews'. The Air Force doesn't have forts, they have bases - the correct designation would be 'Andrews Air Force Base'
  • Though the film rather calls attention to the endless series of rooms Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) must enter that are filled with older white males, late in the film the Supreme Court convenes, and nine older white men walk out to the bench. Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court, had already been on the court for four years in 1971.
  • The film contains four actors from the television series Fargo: Bob Odenkirk (season 1), Jesse Plemmons (season 2) and Carrie Coon & Michael Stuhlbarg (season 3).
  • Bob Odenkirk and Jesse Plemmons both appeared in Breaking Bad.
  • The three primary sources for the screenplay's events and dialogue are Katharine Graham's memoir Personal History, Ben Bradlee's memoir A Good Life, and Daniel Ellsberg's memoir Secrets: a Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg was the only one of the principal characters still living at the time of filming. After consulting with Ellsberg, Steven Spielberg expanded on his role with the prologue depicting his disillusionment with the war and his copying of the Pentagon Papers. Originally in the script Ellsberg was going to be an unknown, off-screen character until Ben Bagdikian's meeting with him.
  • Ken Burns allowed Steven Spielberg an early look at his 16 hour documentary TV series The Vietnam War (2017) as source material for the picture.
  • With The Post, Call Me By Your Name and Shape of Water, Michael Stuhlbarg stars in three Oscar nominated films in 2017 for best motion picture of the year.
  • Sixty-one-year-old Tom Hanks plays 50-year-old Ben Bradlee. While Ben Bradlee is 3 years older than his wife, Antonette (Tony), the actors have a 17-year age gap.
  • With her Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for The Post (2017), this is the first time that Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Academy Award for a performance in a film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards since Out of Africa (1985), a gap of 32 years, despite the fact she has been nominated 15 more times since then. She is also the first Best Actress nominee for a Steven Spielberg film since Whoopi Goldberg for The Color Purple (1985) in 1986 and the first woman to receive an acting nomination for a film directed by him since Sally Field for Lincoln (2012) in 2013.
  • By appearing in three Best Picture Oscar nominees in 2017, The Shape of Water (2017), Call Me by Your Name (2017) and this film, Michael Stuhlbarg overtook co-star Meryl Streep, in number of Best Picture nominees that each has appeared in. Michael Stuhlbarg has appeared in seven films nominated for the coveted award released by the end of 2017, while Meryl Streep has appeared in only six.
  • With two nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress, The Post (2017) holds the distinction of being director Steven Spielberg's lowest-tally for a Best Picture-directed nominee ever.
  • The first film in which Meryl Streep gives an Oscar nominated performance in a Best Picture nominee, and the film did not go on to win Best Picture.
  • All of the newspaper sound in this movie was recorded with a vintage microphone from the 1970s. The newspaper prop used during foley recording was also a vintage newspaper from 1970s England. The newspaper back then had a much softer sound making the foley recording pretty authentic.
  • Ben Bradlee drives a Fiat 128 twice during the movie.
  • Steven Spielberg made this movie while he was waiting for Industrial Light & Magic to create close to 1,500 digital effect shots for Ready Player One (2018).
  • Ben Bradlee says to the lawyer that the company's last lawyer is now Secretary of State. This is in reference to William Rogers, whose clients as a lawyer included The Washington Post Co.
  • "The Post" is dedicated to Nora Ephron, who was an American writer and filmmaker, known for many screenplays including Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle. Her last film was Julie & Julia. She also wrote several novels including Heartburn. She was married to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, winner of a Pulitzer for his investigative reporting with Bob Woodward on Watergate. She had known the identity of Deep Throat since 1974. After her divorce from Bernstein (the details of which are chronicled in the book and film Heartburn) Ephron told anyone who asked about the identity of Deep Throat that it was Mark Felt. Ephron later conceded that "No one, apart from my sons, believed me."
  • Meryl Streep's previous film for Steven Spielberg was A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. That film also featured Sam Robards, whose father, Jason Robards, played Ben Bradlee in All the President's Men (1976).
  • Tom Hanks is an aficionado and collector of vintage typewriters, and he actually tried out every one of the typewriters in the Post's newsroom during the shoot and took one of them, a Corona Zephyr, for his own collection. 'I tested every single one of those machines and I picked out the one for me," he said. "I informed the prop department, I'm either buying it or stealing it - it's up to them."
  • In real life Daniel Ellsberg lent his name to a paradox in decision sciences that he popularized. Termed the Ellsberg paradox, it demonstrates that human beings have an aversion to ambiguity and prefer a known devil to an unknown angel thus violating certain assumptions of rational decision making theory.
  • Bruce Greenwood plays Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense between 1961-1968. In the movie, 13 days Bruce Greenwood played JFK and Robert McNamara played by Dylan Baker was a big part of it.

Spoilers

  • The line "Glad I never have to go through this again" was ad-libbed by Meryl Streep.
  • The last scene of the film shows the Watergate break-in, which was famously reported on by the Washington Post. In Forrest Gump (1994), the titular character, portrayed by Tom Hanks, spots the Watergate burglars and calls the police to report it.
  • The New York Times had published the Pentagon Papers before The Washington Post and had set the stage for legal battle that ended with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the newspaper in the the case New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713) . In June 2011, the entire Pentagon Papers were declassified and made public. In the 6-3 Court decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote, "Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell."
  • With Get Out (2017) and The Post (2017), Bradley Whitford starred in two Best Picture Academy Award nominated films in the same year (2017). He played the antagonist in both movies.
  • This film ends almost exactly where All the President's Men (1976) begins. The final shot in The Post is of the night watchman discovering the Watergate burglars. The opening shot in All the President's Men is almost the exact same shot of the watchman discovering the burglars, making The Post a "prequel" to the other film.
  • Though the movie is not about Watergate, it is fitting that the movie ends with the depiction of the Watergate break-in, since it is likely that the Watergate break-in would not have happened without the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Nixon's creation of the infamous "Plumbers" group was a direct response to the leaking of the Pentagon Papers (the Plumbers first major effort being breaking into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist in an effort to find discrediting information on him). It would be the major figures in the Plumbers who would hatch and execute the plot to break into the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate.
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