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.
“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)