Is 'The Post' a reaction to Trump and his 'fake news'? Steven Spielberg and the cast weigh in

The Post, the new Steven Spielberg-directed drama starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, follows the Washington Post‘s defiant publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 as President Richard Nixon and his staff made a concerted effort to silence, if not vilify, the media. Sound familiar?

We certainly weren’t the first people to point out the parallels between Nixon’s relationship with the press and President Trump’s endless repudiation of the media as “fake news” when we talked to Spielberg and cast (watch above).

“The thing that kept occurring to all of us was that this story that took place in 1971 was simply about the truth versus the lie,” said Spielberg, who fast-tracked the film into production early this year to make its December release date.

“This was the first time that a U.S. president, in 1971, had tried to preemptively shut down the press,” said Streep, who plays the newspaper’s publisher, Katharine Graham. Added Hanks, who plays her editor and sparring partner Ben Bradlee: “2017 has not only echoes from 1971, but also all sorts of ripples in the pond that we could have never possibly imagined that we were going to have to be surfing.”

Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, Get Out), who co-stars as Washington Post board member Arthur Parsons, took a less diplomatic approach, saying, “We can always use a reminder that the press works for the people, not the president. And does our current president understand that? No — he thinks it should be part of his publicity machine.”

Spielberg indicated that the headlines about the current president and the press were very much in his mind when he crafted his period piece. “Anything that’s a contemporary issue, in any subject — the best way to look at [it] is often not by putting a lens on the contemporary subject but putting a lens on the reflector of history,” he said. “And let us come to the conclusion or come to the realization that, sadly, history is now repeating itself.”

The Post opens in limited release on Friday and nationwide on Jan. 12.

Watch the trailer:

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