Liz Hannah’s USA Today “Post”

Last March, “06880” reported that Liz Hannah’s screenplay about the Pentagon Papers was being made into a major motion picture.

Very major. Steven Spielberg directed “The Post.” Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradlee. Meryl Streep is Katherine Graham.

Hannah is not a boldface name like those three.

At least, not yet.

But good things are happening to the 2003 Staples High School graduate.

Liz Hannah (Photo/Martim Vian for USA Today)

“The Post” was named best film of 2017 by the National Board of Review, and in  the Top 10 by Time and the American Film Institute. It earned 6 Golden Globe nominations, including Best Screenplay. (It didn’t win. But Hannah was there, at a table with Hanks and Streep.)

The writer has gotten some pretty good ink herself.

USA Today headlined its story: “‘The Post’ Writer Liz Hannah Shows What’s Possible When Women Occupy Powerful Roles in Hollywood.”

In it, the Westport native talks about her female mentors, and the inspiration of Katherine Graham herself.

USA Today notes:

A few years into writing pilots that languished in development and feature spec scripts that didn’t sell, a burned-out Hannah made one last-ditch effort before planning to leave the grind of writing to focus on something like teaching. At the encouragement of her husband, Hannah decided it was time to write something about Graham, and focus it on her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers.

Like Graham, “I had been in those rooms where I’m the only woman, and men turn their back on me pretend I’m not there,” Hannah says. The writer’s journey to express her voice, and use “guts (to) ignore the fear and stand on our own two feet,” paralleled her protagonist’s.

Eventually, Hannah’s screenplay reached former Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal. She said:

I would’ve wanted to make this movie no matter who wrote it. But of course working with and supporting women has always been important to me, and I was thrilled to help get it made.

For months, the media has been talking about men — in Hollywood and Washington — taking advantage of women.

Now — with “The Post” — they can talk about the power of women to do great things on their own.

Including Westport’s own Liz Hannah.

(Click here for the full USA Today story. Hat tip: Jeff Kapec)

8 responses to “Liz Hannah’s USA Today “Post”

  1. David Squires

    Another Wonderful Story on Another Very Talented Staples Grad!
    Just saw the movie last night, and it’s Fabulous! Historic & Relevant at the same time…. Congrats to All, and Thanks Dan for this story!

  2. Peter Gambaccini

    I saw “The Post” last night. The personal and professional development of Katherine Graham is the strong centerpiece of a well-crafted screenplay and a very fine movie.

  3. This is fabulous! So great to hear positive news and follow ups on our creative Staples Grads!!!!!

  4. Saw it on Sunday. Spectacular job. The audience clapped at the end, something you rarely hear these days. So proud to hear that Liz Hannah is responsible for the script. She adds another feather to Westport’s cap!

  5. Leslie Petersen

    The Post is fantastic! I am so proud of Liz.Not only did everyone clap at the performance I attended but seemingly there was also not a dry eye in the house. Now on to her next film, which sounds exciting and challenging as well. You go girl! On fire!

  6. Does this mean that a single Staples class–2003–will have a reasonable chance of having two Oscar nominees this year? (Also Justin Paul.)

    I wonder how many high schools have had that feat. Actually, with both Liz and Justin having been part of Staples Players, I wonder how many high school theater organizations have ever had two classmates nominated for an Academy Award in the same year.

    Kudos–and good luck to Liz (and Justin) in the coming weeks.

  7. I think is has much to do with a stellar education system K-12 AND the fact that critical thinking is embedded in all instruction but nowhere more than the theater courses taught by David Roth. Being part of Staples Players provides opportunities to hone problem solving, critical thinking skills, and to develop/strengthen creativity. Kudos to the Staples theater department