Details of the film have been kept under wraps since it was bought by former Sony Picture co-chair Amy Pascal‘s new production company in October.
But of course, Sally Quinn, Bradlee’s widow and a former Washington Post reporter, knew about the project (Steven Spielberg has a house in the Hamptons across from Quinn and Bradlee’s) but had previously been sworn to secrecy.
“I am thrilled,” said Quinn. “This is the dream team.”
The last time Quinn saw her husband on the big screen was in 1976 when actor Jason Robards played Bradlee in “All the President’s Men.” The actor had dinner with the couple and spent the day with Bradlee at the office. “He got him cold,” said Quinn. “It was just mind blowing.” And she expects Hanks, who knew Bradlee personally, will do an equally praise-worthy job. “Tom is a brilliant actor. I don’t have to give him advice. They know Ben and they know what he’s like.”
“All I can can say is I think the timing is perfect. It could not be more relevant today to what’s going on,” added Quinn, whose upcoming book is a spiritual memoir called “Finding Magic.”
The movie’s existence is news to Katharine Weymouth, Graham’s granddaughter and the former publisher of The Post, but the media scion agreed with Quinn. The timing is on point.
“With the media under attack, I think everybody has thought about it in a new light and realizes the importance of the people out there reporting on the facts,” Weymouth said.
“One of the really interesting things about the Pentagon Papers,” Weymouth continued, “is the combination of The Post being both a mission as well as a business.” Graham, the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, made the decision to publish the papers against her lawyers’ advice, Weymouth said.
“It was arguably not a good business decision, it was about the mission in the face of a lot of contrary advice and I think that’s why it’s such a great story,” added Weymouth.
So what advice would Graham’s granddaughter give to the three-time Oscar winner on the verge of stepping into Kay Graham’s shoes?
“My guess is she will approach it like she approaches any role. She’ll do her homework,” said Weymouth, who did add that Graham’s 1997 book, “Personal History,” would be a good start. “It’s so my grandmother’s voice. I can hear it when I read it.”
“I think my grandmother would be incredibly flattered that Meryl Streep was playing her. Who wouldn’t be?”