In what could not be a more appropriate time to be making a film about the importance of free press, it has just been announced that Steven Spielberg is set to direct a movie about the Pentagon Papers scandal starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep called 'The Post'.

Steven SpielbergSteven Spielberg to direct 'The Post'

The movie focuses on the role of The Washington Post in the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971; secret government documents that detailed the US military's history during the Vietnam War and proved that government had lied to both the public and to Congress about various events during the conflicts. 

It was military analyst Daniel Ellsberg who released the Papers, first to The New York Times and then to The Post, knowing that he would face charges. Eventually the Papers leaked to numerous press sources despite the government's attempts at stopping it, and while Ellsberg could have been jailed for espionage, theft and conspiracy, the case eventually fell through when it surfaced that Nixon's staff had used unlawful methods in their attempts to discredit him.

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Thankfully, this story had a happy ending, with freedom of speech and the public's right to the honesty of their government winning over the corrupt methods of the staff behind their leader. Tom Hanks is due to play Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, while Meryl Streep plays publisher Kay Graham. The movie marks Hanks' fifth collaboration with Spielberg (after 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Catch Me If You Can', 'The Terminal' and 'Bridge of Spies') and Streep's second (after 'A.I.' and forthcoming Netflix documentary 'Five Came Back').

Meanwhile, the script has been written by Liz Hannah, while Spielberg has a number of other projects in the works including historical drama 'The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara' and video game thriller 'Ready Player One', and he's also been announced to direct 'Indiana Jones 5' and war drama 'It's What I Do'.