The full cast has been revealed for filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated Pentagon Papers film, previously referred to as The Post and now titled The Papers, and boy is it impressive. Spielberg is currently in the midst of the lengthy post-production process on his sci-fi adaptation Ready Player One, opening in March 2018, and had planned on next directing the historical drama The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, but a timely piece of material came his way and coalesced into a project Spielberg wanted to tackle ASAP.
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep quickly cleared their schedules to shoot this untitled drama to be ready for release later this year, as the film recounts the Washington Post’s role in exposing the Pentagon Papers to the public in 1971, and how Post editor Ben Bradlee (to be played by Hanks) teamed up with the organization’s first female publisher Kay Graham (Streep’s character) and the New York Times to challenge the federal government over their right to publish. The Pentagon Papers was a classified study that revealed harrowing details about the futility of the Vietnam War, which exposed that the Nixon Administration had been lying to the public. When the White House stopped the New York Times’ initial release of the papers, Bradlee and Graham fought to publish the rest in direct defiance of the Executive Branch.
With a December 22, 2017 release date set, Spielberg has assembled one of the most exciting ensembles since, well, Spielberg’s own Lincoln. Per Variety, the cast is as follows: Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford, and Zach Woods. You may notice plenty of Prestige TV faces here from everything from The Leftovers to Fargo to Silicon Valley, and this revelation only makes the film that much more compelling.
Filming on the 20th Century Fox and Amblin Entertainment co-production is already underway, and after that December 22nd limited release the film is expected to go wide on January 12, 2018. Liz Hannah penned the script on spec, and Spielberg is producing alongside Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger.
Given the level of talent involved and timeliness of the premise, one imagines this is gonna be a major contender during the coming Oscar season. Of course we’ve been burned by these kinds of “sure things” before (see: Unbroken and Live by Night), but come on, this is Spielberg. We’re in a different league here.