Superstar director Steven Spielberg is assembling a superstar cast for his next movie.
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep have just been set to lead The Post, Mashable has confirmed. The fact-based drama revolves around the Pentagon Papers, a classified Department of Defense study which detailed the true scope of the U.S. government’s dealings in the Vietnam War.
Leaked by military analyst Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, the documents revealed that the Johnson administration had systematically lied to the public and to Congress to cover up the dramatic escalation of the war in Vietnam. The Pentagon Papers were finally declassified and released in full in 2011.
After the New York Times broke the story open, the Nixon administration tried to force it and The Washington Post to suspend their reporting on the Pentagon Papers. The dispute went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the First Amendment protected the right of the papers to publish the materials.
In the ruling, Justice Hugo Black wrote, “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” It shouldn’t take a big leap to see how this 46-year-old controversy feels especially relevant today.
Spielberg will direct The Post from Liz Hannah’s script, which focuses specifically on the Washington Post‘s role in publishing the study. Hanks will play editor Ben Bradlee and Streep will portray publisher Katherine Graham, a person with knowledge of the project told Mashable.
Still unclear is when cameras will roll. Spielberg is currently wrapping up post-production on his sci-fi adventure Ready Player One, but has a number of other projects on his to-do list already including The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara and Indiana Jones 5.
Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment will co-finance The Post with Fox, which will release the film in the U.S. Producing with Spielberg will be Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger. Deadline first reported the news on Monday.