The high-octane teaming of Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks for The Post is perhaps appropriate for such an important true story. And the film also plays as a virtual prequel to the 1976 classic All the President's Men, as it centres on editor Ben Bradlee taking on President Nixon several years before Watergate. The Post has extra resonance today as it explores published Katharine Graham's transformation from nervous newcomer to the steely leader unafraid to challenge those in power.

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in 'The Post'Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in 'The Post'

"There are things about this film that definitely feel like history meeting its moment," says Streep, who plays Graham in the film. "What drew me to the original script was a story that hasn't been told. The story of this uneasy emergence of women that happened in the middle of the 20th century and has brought us to the moment where we are now. Embedded in the story is what women have been able to become - in newsrooms, in courts, in the places where in our movie they don't exist."

Watch the trailer for 'The Post' here:

While Hanks had worked with Spielberg before, he had never shared the screen with Streep. "I've never been actively involved in something that, quite frankly, warranted Meryl to be in the movie," he laughs. "From the moment we both read it and said, 'Oh, I'm not going to let this pass me by,' it grew into the specifics of what the Pentagon Papers were. But I viewed this as the story of the week that Katharine Graham became Katharine Graham," Hanks says. "In which case I had the juicy aspect of playing the only ally she had. You know, philosophically, the relationship that they had was based on so much stuff. You might as well just call it love, respect, empathy, understanding, professional moxie. It's also cantankerous, like when he said, 'Katharine, get your finger out of my eye.'"

Additional parallels with the ongoing sexual assault scandal aren't lost on either actor. After working with Harvey Weinstein on a few films, Streep was startled to learn how duplicitous he was. "You make movies, you think you know everything about everybody. There's so much gossip," she says. "But you don't know anything. People are so inscrutable on a certain level. And it's a shock. Some of my favourite people have been brought down by this, and he's not one of them."

For Hanks, the wider questions in the film extend from the #MeToo movement to Wikileaks and President Trump's disdain for quality journalism. "This is what this entire film deals with," he says. "We made this movie about 1971, but it really is about 2017. There's no reason not to get involved in what this overpowering discussion is about."